"SolarWorld and the other members of CASM strongly support the creation of American jobs in the solar industry," said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon.
Washington, D.C., January 30, 2011 – The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), composed of seven U.S. manufacturers of crystalline silicon solar cells and panels and more than 150 associate members representing more than 11,000 employees, issued the following statement in response to the new CASE economic analysis released earlier today:
"SolarWorld and the other members of CASM strongly support the creation of American jobs in the solar industry," said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon. "This highly speculative study ignores the illegality of China's actions and fails to consider the harm those actions have caused to high-tech manufacturing jobs in the solar sector. We do know that thousands of good-paying American manufacturing jobs have already been lost to illegal Chinese dumping and subsidies for solar products. Our goal is to build America's solar manufacturing base and the good jobs with benefits, innovation and competition that come along with it."
Other points to consider when evaluating the CASE study:
Chinese solar producers are importing dumped and subsidized goods. They are breaking U.S. laws and international treaties that the world community has deemed essential to preventing government-sponsored destruction of foreign industries. Solar manufacturers of the West didn't start a trade war; in fact, we're attempting to stop it.
Even as the Chinese importers claim to serve the interest of affordability, end-user pricing has continued its accustomed year-over-year decline, but wholesale prices have collapsed. The American consumer is not benefitting much from Chinese trade aggression; the Chinese importers are. But U.S. consumers will sustain the brunt of economic harm if China cinches a monopoly over world production, destroying the U.S. domestic manufacturing industry along the way.
This study falsely assumes that the U.S. solar market will collapse without dumped and subsidized Chinese solar panels. There is no evidence to support this assumption.
Two years ago, the resellers of Chinese tires put out a very similar study, claiming that for every U.S. manufacturing job saved by the Section 421 trade action then being investigated, anywhere between 12 and 25 jobs at tire retailers would be lost. This never happened. There is no reason to believe that CASE's study on behalf of dumped subsidized Chinese imports will prove to be any more accurate.
The study's assumptions about job losses mask an important distinction in job categories. Study after study shows that high-tech and manufacturing jobs, with comparatively high wages and benefits, are the type of jobs we should aspire to create and maintain. They offer a high job multiplier and spawn product innovation. Further, widespread networks of installation workers still will be required to install the solar products of rebounding, law-abiding competitors.
For SolarWorld and the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, a halt to China's illegal trade aggression is not an end in and of itself, but rather a stepping-stone to rekindling growth of U.S. renewable energy manufacturing and jobs on domestic soil.
A strong U.S. solar manufacturing industry is vital to our energy independence. We don't want to rely on unstable foreign countries for our supply of oil. Why should we want to rely on illegal imports from China for our supply of solar energy? As a leader in renewable-energy adoption, the U.S. military fully recognizes a critical geopolitical truth that is sure only to prove more pivotal in the future: Energy security equals national security.
The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing is made up of seven companies that manufacture solar cells and modules in the United States as well as more than 150 employers of more than 12,000 workers who have registered their support for CASM's case as associate members. These member companies have plants in nearly every region in the United States, including the Northwest and California, the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast and South and support several thousand U.S. manufacturing jobs. For details about CASM, go to www.americansolarmanufacturing.org; email media questions to email@example.com; other questions or comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.