US to investigate complaints China is low-balling solar panels

China is criticizing a US decision to investigate whether Chinese companies are harming the American solar panel industry.

December 5, 2011   by CANADIAN PRESS

BEIJING: China criticized a US decision to investigate whether Chinese companies are harming the American solar panel industry, saying it was made without sufficient evidence and highlights a strong US tendency for protectionism.

The US International Trade Commission will investigate a complaint by seven US solar companies that Chinese competitors are selling solar products on global markets at unfairly low prices.

The vote does not impose any penalties but says there is reason to believe that Chinese imports harm or threaten to harm the US solar panel industry.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that the decision was made without sufficient evidence showing the US industry had been harmed and did not take into account Chinese companies’ arguments or opposition from US industries and other affected groups.

“China is deeply concerned about the decision, which does not tally with facts and highlights the United States’ strong tendency for trade protectionism,” it said on its website.

The statement said China hopes the US will objectively analyze why some US solar panel companies lack competitiveness.

“The United States should avoid abusing trade remedies which will affect bilateral trade and mutually beneficial co-operation between China and US enterprises in the new energy sector,” it said.

The companies that filed the October complaint said massive subsidies by the Chinese government enable Chinese producers to drive out US competition, and asked for tough trade penalties on Chinese solar imports.

The case has caused a split in the solar industry, with some US companies saying imports of Chinese solar panels have lowered prices, helping consumers and promoting rapid growth of the industry.

Solar and other renewable energy technology has emerged as an irritant in US-Chinese trade. The two governments have pledged to co-operate in development but accuse each other of violating free-trade pledges by subsidizing their own manufacturers.

© The Canadian Press 2012

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