Yesterday's Commerce Department decision on solar panels is a win for U.S. manufacturers

Posted by scapozzola on 05/18/2012

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed tariffs of roughly 31% on imports of Chinese-made solar cells. 

In the run-up to the decision:

  • Several U.S. manufacturers of solar panels had filed dumping charges against Chinese firms to offset illegal subsidies by the Chinese government.
  • The United Steelworkers (USW) had previously filed a section 301 trade case against China alleging that dumping and subsidies in the clean energy sector were adversely affecting U.S. manufacturers of renewable energy.
  • Last December, a group of 59 Senators and Members of Congress urged President Obama to investigate allegations that Chinese firms are dumping subsidized solar panels in the U.S. at below fair-market value.

U.S. solar panel manufacturers reacted positively to the news that Commerce had found Chinese firms guilty of dumping solar cells and panels into the U.S. market, calling it a very positive first step. 

Predictably, the Chinese government called the ruling "unfair" and "destructive for the entire solar industry."

The bottom line is that the Commerce decision, another one against China's mercantilist trade policies, is a good thing. 

For the U.S. to build an alternative and renewable energy sector, progress must be made on China's continuing illegal, predatory and protectionist trade practices.  

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has continually pressed for holding China accountable when it dumps product and subsidizes production in violation of trade agreements.
China has a plan.  So should the U.S.

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