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Solar firms team up against US investigation


14:01, May 25, 2012

14 Chinese solar panel manufacturers formed an alliance to cope with an anti-dumping investigation launched by the United States, a Chinese machinery chamber announced on Thursday.

Four leading manufacturers of photovoltaic (PV) products also formed an alliance on Thursday to work collectively on the investigation, according to Shi Yonghong, deputy chief of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery of Electronic Products (CCCME).

The U.S. antidumping duty ruling on Chinese crystalline silicon PV cells has distorted the facts on the production and export of China's PV industries, Shi said.

"China-produced PV products have price advantages, as the industry chain has developed rapidly in recent years in the country," said Shi, adding that many companies have adopted outstanding management modes and forward-looking strategies with large-scale productions.

The chamber issued a statement on its website to clarify that the competitiveness of Chinese PV products has nothing to do with dumping and that exported PV cells did not do any harm to domestic industries in the U.S.

"The prices of solar panels and other related products have fallen in the U.S. because of a global oversupply of their raw material, crystalline silicon, not due to products made in China," said the statement.

It also said the rights and interests that Chinese companies are entitled to were not protected during the investigation, and it seriously twisted the facts on the production costs of relevant Chinese PV companies, which is arbitrary and result-oriented.

Chinese companies hope the U.S. Commerce Department will "correct the incorrect and unjust acts" committed against these companies in later antidumping investigations, according to the statement.

The development of the green economy can help create new economic growth and tackle energy problems amid the uncertainties of the global economy, Sun Guangbin, head of the solar PV sector under the CCCME.

PV companies from around the world should be aware of fair competition and adhere to the principle of free trade, said Sun, indicating that CCCME will support the alliance.

The alliance not only aims at coping with the U.S.'s anti-dumping probe, but will also be committed to establishing harmonious, free and equal industry order without trade barriers and disputes, said Shi Zhengrong, chairman and chief executive officer of Suntech Power, the world's largest producer of solar panels.

China has become the largest PV products manufacturer as it boasts the output of over 60 percent of PV products in the world.

"China's PV industry has made huge contributions to global renewable energy, so the U.S. Commerce Department's preliminary decision to impose antidumping duties on China's PV products is not wise," said Yuan Quan, deputy director of sales of Jiangsu Phono Solar Technology Co., Ltd.

Statistics from CCCME show that China has imported raw materials for PV products worth 2 billion U.S. dollars from the U.S. annually in the past two years, and its expenses for transferring technologies and importing equipment totalled more than 3 billion U.S. dollars.

Worried about the influence of the preliminary decision made by the U.S., Phono Solar Technology reduced PV product exports to the U.S. as of April and has begun to explore the domestic market, Yuan said.

The cost of PV products exported to the U.S. will increase about 36 percent if the additional antidumping duties are imposed, said Chen Deyin, vice president of the Shanghai-based JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd., suggesting the move will bring harm to manufacturers in both countries.

Declining demand from the EU market as a result of the European debt crisis coupled with the move on the part of the U.S. will negatively influence China's PV companies, said Shen Yuliang, an expert from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade.

The government and PV companies should focus on improving export strategies and exploring the domestic market, Shen added.

On May 16 local time, the U.S. Commerce Department announced its affirmative preliminary determinations in antidumping duties on Chinese PV cells, whether or not assembled into modules, imposing levies of 31.14 percent to 249.96 percent on Chinese producers and exporters.

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on May 18 that the preliminary ruling by the U.S. on China-made solar cells sends "negative signals of trade protectionism" to the world, urging the U.S. Commerce Department to "right the wrongs" in upcoming probes and avoid unfair rulings.

The preliminary results will be reviewed by the Commerce Department in October and the International Trade Commission in November.


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