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U.S. solar lobby proposes trade solution

The U.S. solar industry lobby group has proposed a resolution to the trade dispute between China and the U.S.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has put forward what it calls an “industry compromise” to resolve outstanding issues while encouraging the spread of solar and benefiting end users.

“This proposed settlement is a win all the way around,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “It would actually lower costs to Chinese manufacturers for the export of solar cells and modules to the United States, and it would improve U.S. manufacturers’ ability to compete fairly on an even playing field.”

“It would also eliminate current and future litigation risks and costs for both Chinese and American companies,” he continued. “But just as importantly, SEIA’s proposed settlement would benefit American consumers, as well as all consumers of solar energy, by holding down costs.”

Chinese workers at the Tianxiang Solar Energy Equipment Factory in Huaibei, China. Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Chinese workers at the Tianxiang Solar Energy Equipment Factory in Huaibei, China. Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Since the trade dispute began, with some U.S. manufacturers alleging that Chinese solar panel producers export PV panels at below cost price, the SEIA has argued against major penalties against Chinese firms because of the potential for increasing the cost of solar panels for American consumers.

This proposal aligns with their past arguments, and opposes any kind of settlement that would increase solar prices.

“While we are encouraged that negotiations to resolve the solar trade dispute are continuing in earnest, the discussions appear to be focused right now on a minimum price and/or quotas,” said John Smirnow, SEIA Vice President of Trade and Competitiveness.

“This is a misguided approach. Any settlement which includes these components would represent a significant step backwards for the U.S. solar industry and the solar industry globally.”

The linchpins of the proposal are:

establishing a Solar Development Institute funded by Chinese manufacturers, which would focus on expanding the U.S. solar market and growing the U.S. solar manufacturing base. The Institute would be a “vehicle for fostering long-term collaboration between the U.S. and Chinese solar industries.”

the end of China’s antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on U.S. polysilicon exports to China

phasing out the U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties

a safeguard mechanism designed to offset any surge of Chinese solar modules into the U.S. market.


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