U.S. Department of Commerce finds massive surge of Chinese solar imports, triggering 90-day retroactivity if it finds duties are warranted

‘Critical circumstances' finding by Commerce marks first time that agency has issued ruling ahead of preliminary countervailing-duty determination

Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 2012 – The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), led by SolarWorld and supported by more than 150 U.S. employers of more than 11,000 workers, today recognized the U.S. Department of Commerce for taking expedited action against a massive, evasive surge of Chinese solar cell and panel imports ahead of Commerce's first preliminary determination on duties, now scheduled for March 2, 2012. Commerce's finding of "critical circumstances" means that if the agency imposes preliminary countervailing duties on March 2, the duties will apply to all imports of cells and modules from Chinese exporters that were brought into the United States starting Dec. 3, 2011.


This critical-circumstances ruling marks the first time that Commerce has issued such a finding in advance of a preliminary countervailing duty determination. Aside from the determination on anti-subsidy (also called countervailing) duties, the agency is scheduled to issue a separate preliminary ruling on anti-dumping duties on March 27. Commerce will issue a separate critical-circumstances ruling in the anti-dumping investigation. Separately, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued a unanimous preliminary determination on Dec. 2 that the imports are harming the U.S. solar manufacturing industry.

"After several years of massive imports of illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese solar products, the U.S. solar manufacturing industry and its workers greatly appreciate the Department of Commerce's finding that importers of Chinese products have mounted a massive surge in product to evade accountability to U.S. and international trade law," said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon. "Recognizing that an attempt at circumvention can happen, the trade law allows Commerce to act against such abusive behavior. We value Commerce's decision, and we hope that it will send a clear message to the marketplace about Commerce's commitment to using all of its tools to combat unfair trade."

"We filed these trade cases as a key step to rekindle growth in America's renewable energy manufacturing and jobs," Brinser said. "SolarWorld and CASM believe that free trade is trade free of illegal governmental intervention. Robust and legal international competition, not predatory pricing that relies on massive and improper subsidies, will produce the best products and sustainable price declines over the long term. Today, we are one step closer to these aims."
CASM – founded by seven domestic crystalline silicon solar technology producers led by SolarWorld, the largest U.S. producer for more than 35 years – filed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade petitions against Chinese solar manufacturers to halt what the petitions characterize as pervasive, systemic use of state support to injure the U.S. industry. At least 12 domestic producers have undertaken layoffs, gone bankrupt or closed plants in all regions of the country over the past two years.

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 11,000 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 media@americansolarmanufacturing.org; other questions or comments may be emailed to contact@americansolarmanufacturing.org.

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