Steelworkers Union Joins US Solar Petition Against China; Chinese Developer Puts US Project On Hold

The United Steelworkers Union – the largest in the US with 850,000 active members – joined the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing in petitioning for anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese solar imports.

"Unfortunately, China continues to operate in a manner that is utterly inconsistent with its WTO obligations, which comes at the expense of developing our nation’s clean energy sector and creating and sustaining clean energy jobs for American workers. We urge you to vigorously apply and enforce our trade laws in these solar cases so that American workers and domestic industries can have a fair chance to compete in the U.S. market," says Leo Gerard, International President of United Steelworkers, in a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.

The complaint contends that Chinese dumping has played a significant role in causing seven U.S. solar plants to close or downsize during the past 18 months, eliminating thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

US solar firms lashed back against China’s response to their trade complaint – China warned the US against taking protectionist measures that could harm the global economy. 

The next step in the case is an ITC staff hearing today, Nov. 8. The Commerce Department is expected to announce whether it will initiate investigations tomorrow. If initiated, the investigations will take about 12 months to complete.

China’s Largest Solar Developer Puts US Plant on Hold

China’s largest solar developer, CECEP Solar Energy Technology Co., says it is tabling a planned $500 million U.S. project  because of the trade dispute.

CECEP, which is a division of state-owned China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group, says it will  wait to see the results of the dispute. If a tariff is put into force, raising the price of Chinese-made solar panels 30%, the project wouldn’t be profitable.

Although the recession and subsidy cuts in Germany, Italy and the UK have cut demand in Chinese solar manufacturers’ largest markets, there’s now a solar boom in China, which they hope will make up for it.

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