March 20, 2012

Wyden Statement on Commerce’s Preliminary Decision to Address Subsidized Solar Panel Imports from China

Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued the following statement responding to the Commerce Department’s preliminary decision that Chinese-made solar are imported in violation of international trade rules. The investigation was sought by American manufacturers of solar panels that contend that unfair trade practices by China are harming American producers.
“Today’s decision by the Commerce Department is a signal that China’s unfair trade practices in the solar energy industry may soon be remedied, giving American producers a more level playing field on which to compete. As the administration continues its investigation into exposing China’s subsidies, and especially into the question of dumping, I anticipate that the tariff margins will significantly swell.  

Right now U.S. manufacturers are being hammered by Chinese imports that appear to be subsidized by the government and dumped on the U.S. market. For domestic producers to compete, they need only a level playing field free from the unfair trade practices that are routinely employed by China.  Free trade does not mean trade free from rules. They are there for a reason and it is good that the Commerce Department is seeing the effect these violations are having on the market and is willing to combat them.”

Last month, Wyden released a report outlining the impact of China’s trade policies of the green technology sector, particularly solar energy products.  The report showed a rapid surge of solar energy imports from China -- a 500 percent increase between just 2009 and 2011.  Furthermore, it showed that China is taking an increasing share of the global market of the environmental goods sector, which includes renewable energy.

Today’s preliminary decision by the Commerce Department will be followed by a final decision which could include tariff meant to counter China’s subsidies and pricing practices in order to put American producers on equal footing with their Chinese counterparts.