China's Trade Aggression Still Costs Jobs in U.S. Solar Industry Company hopes issue will come up in talks with Xi Jinping
For SolarWorld, China's trade aggression in the solar sector is a textbook example of how the country - employing an arsenal of price dumping, massive subsidization, cyber-espionage and closed markets - has used unfair trade as a battering ram to try to wipe out a U.S. industry and its employment.
In recent weeks, yet more companies have been forced to lay off U.S. employees in reaction to Chinese prices that are below costs of production, according to the company. SolarWorld, the largest U.S. crystalline-silicon solar manufacturer for more than 40 years, requests that the issue of the unfolding aggression become part of consultations between China and the United States on the occasion of President Xi's U.S. visit beginning on April 6.
The ongoing bankruptcies and layoffs of Western companies in the wake of China's campaign are well-documented by recent headlines, SolarWorld said. China's state-financed overcapacities exceed domestic demand by three times and would be enough to supply the global market for solar products some 1.3 times. Agencies of the U.S. and European governments have issued numerous trade rulings and findings against China in SolarWorld trade cases. While import duties remain important, SolarWorld said, China has built up excess, subsidized, third-country production capacities to continue to press its domination while circumventing the duties.
As recently as Dec. 29, the U.S. Department of Commerce found that China was supplying its companies with cut-rate supplies of money, building materials for solar panels, electricity and land, and numerous tax breaks, according to SolarWorld. As well, the U.S. government in 2014 brought criminal indictments against the Chinese military for allegedly using cyber-espionage to steal valuable files from SolarWorld. Though China enjoys access to every corner of the U.S. solar market, including military bases and housing, China bars converse access to its own market, SolarWorld said.
"China's continued violation of international trade laws must be addressed," said Juergen Stein, U.S. president of SolarWorld. "We have used all legal means available to us since 2011 to right these wrongs. For the sake of the solar industry in the West, it is now time for stiffer, more concerted action."
"The U.S. and European markets are the industry's seats of innovation," Stein said. "To see them undermined as a matter of policy of a foreign, nonmarket government is unacceptable. It's too late for thousands of jobs that have been lost. But it's not too late for this industry to return to creating breakthroughs and jobs."
About SolarWorld REAL VALUE
SolarWorld manufactures and sells high-tech solar power solutions and, in doing so, contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. The group, headquartered in Bonn, Germany, employs 3,288 people and operates facilities in Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany and Hillsboro, Oregon, USA, as well as in a joint venture with Qatar Solar Technologies. From raw material silicon to solar wafers, cells and modules, SolarWorld manages all stages of production - including research and development in its own company, SolarWorld Innovations. Through an international distribution network with locations in Europe, USA, Singapore, Japan, South Africa and Qatar, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world. The company upholds high social standards and commits itself to resource- and energy-efficient production. With its program Solar2World, the company supports the expansion of solar power in developing countries. SolarWorld was founded in 1998 and has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999. Connect with SolarWorld on Facebook, Twitter and www.solarworld.com.