November 09, 2011

Wyden Statement on Commerce Decision to Investigate Surging Solar Panel Imports from China

Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance’s Subcommittee on Trade, Customs and Global Competiveness issued the following statement in response the U.S. Commerce Department’s announcement that it has initiated an investigation into surging solar panel imports from China.

“I welcome the Commerce Department’s decision to launch an investigation into whether or not China is adhering to global trade rules.  I don’t want to pre-judge the Department’s independent investigation but the petition filed by the domestic industry in the solar case, and the evidence put forward in the Steelworkers 301 petition and recently uncovered by the USTR, provide ample evidence to suggest that China is not playing by the rules and an investigation is justified.

Free trade does not mean trade free from rules.  The global, rules-based trading system is designed to prevent trade wars, because it establishes clear, enforceable standards for all of the world’s participants.  Failure to enforce those standards undermines the free trade system.

The solar case asks a simple question: is China playing by the rules?  If the answer is yes, no action will be taken.  If not, the U.S. is afforded, under World Trade Organization agreements, the right to remedy China’s unfair trade practices by imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD).  The AD/CVD case brought by the domestic solar industry strengthens and legitimizes our global trading system and the rules that make it possible.

Trade remedies aren’t designed to artificially raise the price of goods, rather they are designed to limit a country’s ability to cheat the system by artificially lowering prices.  Critics of such remedies must remember that if China is successful at putting its competition out of business, its prices won’t stay low for long.”