Chinese Solar Manufacturers Vow a 'United Front' to Counter Dumping Probe

China's solar subsidies pale in comparison with the U.S. government's support of its domestic solar-panel manufacturers, the China Chamber of Commerce charges.

Chinese solar-panel makers on Tuesday rejected an anti-dumping complaint filed in the United States by competitor SolarWorld, saying it risks "seriously hindering the development of green energy."

"China's photovoltaic industry has greatly contributed to the development of the global market," Wang Guiqing, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce, told a press conference, speaking on behalf of Chinese companies.

Last month, SolarWorld Industries America, a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG of Germany and the leading manufacturer in the sector in the United States, asked the Obama administration to impose trade sanctions on China for subsidizing its solar-panel exporters and encouraging what it called unfair competition.

"The photovoltaic industry based in China has formed a united front to counter the U.S. investigation," Guiqing said.

Guiqing added that "the competitive advantages of Chinese photovoltaic companies are due primarily to the concentration of the industrial chain inside China," and not due to Chinese government grants.

"The Chinese government has provided a much smaller amount of support to Chinese PV companies" for their development of green energy than have the governments of the United States and Europe, Guiqing said.

Guiqing added that SolarWorld has received at least $43 million in tax breaks and public subsidies at a single factory in the United States and more than $182 million in public aid in Europe.

Chinese manufacturers also said they have purchased $3 billion worth of equipment and licenses in the United States in 2010 alone, and claim to be supported by 101 U.S. companies in the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.

For its part, SolarWorld draws support from six companies in the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, which, Guiqing said, "represent only a tiny share of U.S. manufacturers."

Chinese executives whose companies are heavily dependent on solar-panel exports to Europe said they are feeling threatened by the region's debt crisis.

"Our strategy is diversification," Shi Zhengrong, CEO of Suntech, China's first solar-panel maker, told AFP. "The volume of sales has increased in recent years, but sales in other regions have increased even faster."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

TAGS: Trade
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