China concerned over US ruling on solar panel probe

Updated: 2011-12-04 07:15


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BEIJING - China's Ministry of Commerce on Saturday expressed its "deep concerns" over a preliminary ruling made by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) that Chinese enterprises are harming the US solar panel industry.

The ruling was made without sufficient evidence showing US solar panel industry has been harmed and regardless of defense opinions from Chinese firms as well as opposition from the US domestic industries and other stakeholders, the ministry said in a statement.

"China is deeply concerned about the decision, which does not tally with facts and highlights the United States' strong tendency for trade protectionism," the statement said.

It said China hopes that the US side will objectively analyze the reason why some of US solar panel firms lack competitiveness.

"The United States should avoid abusing trade remedies which will affect bilateral trade and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and US enterprises in the new energy sector," the statement said.

MOC spokesman Shen Danyang warned last month that the probe could damage energy cooperation between the two countries and impede the progress of global efforts to deal with climate change.

The ITC voted 6-0 on Friday that there was a reasonable indication that SolarWorld Industries America and other US producers have been harmed or are threatened with injury by solar panel and module imports from China.

The vote allows the US Department of Commerce (DOC) to continue an investigation that could lead to both countervailing and anti-dumping duties on solar panels and modules from China.

The DOC will make preliminary decisions regarding anti-subsidy and anti-dumping measures in January and February 2012, respectively.

Fourteen Chinese solar panel producers, including Suntech Power and Yingli Green Energy, have decided to jointly raise a plea in response to the US probe.

Li Lei, senior lawyer of Sidley Austin LLP and the represent lawyer of China-based solar industries, said Tuesday that ITC is highly unlikely to come to "no harm" conclusions and terminate the investigation in its preliminary ruling.

He said Chinese companies should actively participate the defense against the charges.

Wang Guiqing, vice-president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, has said that the success of China's photovoltaic industry in the US lies in the advantages it has gained through technological innovation and benefit of scale.

The US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation was just a means of trade protectionism which seek to curtail market shares of Chinese solar panel manufacturers, industry analysts said.

The trade tension comes at a time when the United States is seeking to boost technology exports to revive its economy and cut high unemployment.

Upon an appeal filed by SolarWorld Industries America and six other undisclosed firms, the DOC said on November 8 that it would conduct an investigation to determine whether Chinese firms have been selling solar panels in the United States at unfair discounts and receiving illegal government subsidies.