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Solar industry face export challenges (2)

By Du Juan  (China Daily)

09:53, January 14, 2013

Around 20 percent of China's PV solar panels were exported to the US market before the ruling was announced.

The tariffs will raise costs for Chinese solar panel manufacturers, leading to a decline in orders from the US.

Chinese companies hoped to rely on other overseas markets when they had to relinquish business in the US so the EU's probe came as bad news and has aroused serious concerns within China's solar industry.

"This is the third time that I have been in China," said Buttgereit. "I can feel that people from Chinese companies and my Chinese colleagues are more nervous than the last two times when I visited China under the current intense situation."

China launched an investigation on Nov 1 into polysilicon imports from the EU and on Nov 5 China lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization regarding local content requirements in some EU countries.

Some Chinese experts said the moves were mere posturing.

"The trade war is bad for everyone no matter whether it's foreign countries or China," said Li Junfeng, deputy director at the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission.

He said the trade war acts against the principles of the solar industry, which aims to reduce the cost of renewable energy for sustainable development in the long term.

The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, an organization of American solar companies representing about 98 percent of the US solar industry jobs, believes free trade and industry competition are critical to making solar electricity affordable for everyone.

After the US announced the ruling on imported Chinese solar products, the coalition said it was concerned about the growing global trade war, which will hurt American solar industry jobs, growth and customers.

"On behalf of the 97 percent to 98 percent of the US solar industry that fought against SolarWorld, we are all looking forward to ending this distraction and returning to our everyday focus of creating jobs and lowering renewable energy costs," said Jigar Shah, president of CASE.

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