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Solar firms cut employees

By XIE YU  (China Daily)

08:06, September 20, 2012

A woman works at a factory producing solar panels for the European market, in Jiangsu province, on Sept 6. The European Commission launched an anti-dumping investigation into made-in-China solar products in early September, forcing some Chinese factories to reduce production and lay off their workers. SI WEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Chinese solar companies are reducing production and laying off workers to cut costs, in a bid to cope with the crisis triggered by the European Union anti-dumping investigation and anti-dumping duties imposed by the United States.

The European Commission launched a formal investigation in early September, which activated the largest trade dispute involving China in terms of trade volume.

China's solar product exports were worth $35.8 billion in 2011. The EU receives a share of more than 60 percent of those exports, or $20.4 billion.

In May, the US decided to impose tariffs on more than 31 percent of solar panels made in China, in addition to the fees ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent imposed in March, after it claimed that China was "improperly subsidizing its solar manufacturers".

Suntech Power Holdings, one of the world's largest producers of solar panels, said on Monday that in order to cut production costs and operating expenses, it has temporarily shut down a portion of its solar cell production capacity at its Wuxi, Jiangsu province, headquarters.

The company said the move will affect about 1,500 employees, but declined to say whether they will be fired or relocated to other sections.

"In light of the preliminary US anti-dumping tariffs, the European anti-dumping investigation, and oversupply of solar modules, we have decided to right-size our production capacity and continue to optimize our organization," said David King, Suntech's CEO.

Trina Solar, another giant Chinese solar company, said it will cut about 200 employees at the management level.

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