Oct. 19, 2011: Markey: Manchurian Manipulation of Solar Market Must End

Congressman Supports Solar Industry’s Battle against Chinese Trade Practices

WASHINGTON (October 19, 2011) -- A group of seven domestic manufacturers of solar energy technology filed a petition today with the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission calling for a halt to the illegal dumping of Chinese solar panels into the American market and other illegal trade practices. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and author of several renewable energy bills, released the following statement:
“This Manchurian manipulation of the solar market must be stopped. The American solar industry will win when the only thing it has to worry about is the tilting of its panels towards the sun, not a tilted playing field from unfair trade practices.
“This petition from American solar manufacturers should also send a clear message to Republicans to get on the side of American companies and workers or get out of the conversation. House Republicans have used the bankruptcy of three American solar companies in the last few months to justify their opposition to clean energy and any government program intended to support clean energy. America’s solar industry is having a tough enough time dealing with hostile Chinese trade practices as it is. The last thing in the world they need is Republican politicians undermining their industry and waving the white flag to China.
“Five years ago China was virtually nonexistent in the solar market. Today, they produce two thirds of the world’s solar panels. In July 2011 alone, imports of Chinese crystalline silicon PV panels and modules to the U.S. exceeded the volume imported during all of 2010. This doesn’t happen by itself. China knows that that the global solar market is worth trillions of dollars over the coming decade, and they have developed a sophisticated campaign to dominate this industry. Thus far, it has been extremely effective.
“I welcome the petition filed today by these seven American solar manufacturers and urge the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission to rigorously and expeditiously determine the veracity of these allegations. If the predatory pricing strategies or other alleged illegal trade tactics employed by Chinese solar companies prove to be in violation of international trade rules, I would support the Commerce Department taking all appropriate actions to remedy these violations.”
Last year, the Chinese government provided four of their largest solar companies with $30 billion in financing. This is 56 times more than the financing support the U.S. government gave Solyndra. The rapid growth of these government-backed Chinese companies played a significant part in the 42 percent drop in solar module prices seen during the first 8 months of this year.
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