Over the past year, SEIA has held a series of dialogues with several leading national solar trade associations regarding potential collaboration on and resolution of trade issues before they result in action before trade remedy bodies. SEIA is also collaborating with the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) and other Asia-Pacific based trade associations on the development of a formal Solar Dialogue within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
The initial goals of these dialogues are to:
-Promote WTO-acceptable trade in solar energy goods, while taking into account the unique and important role of governments in the development of the solar energy industry;
-Ensure that global innovation, scaling, and economic development occur; and
-Create a collaborative framework for preventing trade conflict in the solar industry and resolving it constructively if conflict does arise.
The announcement came as the Department of Commerce (DOC) ruled to impose countervailing duties on the import of Chinese PV modules into the U.S. market.
"SEIA is supportive of a rules-based process for resolving trade disputes in the solar industry and the Department of Commerce’s investigation is certainly part of that process," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. "It is important to note that this is a preliminary determination and the antidumping decision will be rendered in May. If the tariffs remain at these levels, we do not think that this will have a material impact on the U.S. market."
Resch added, "But the trade action against Chinese imports is indicative of a growing trend of trade conflict in the global solar energy industry that threatens to curtail the rapid growth we have seen in this market – both in the U.S. and abroad. Governments and industry must recognize that while trade remedy proceedings such as antidumping and countervailing duty investigations are an important part of the global trade rules, so too are collaboration and negotiations. This is why SEIA is taking a proactive lead to create a dialogue with several leading national solar trade associations and governments from around the world."
DOC’s preliminarily found that several Chinese government support programs provide unfair subsidies. To offset these subsidies, DOC issued preliminary countervailing duty margins ranging from 2.9 to 4.73 percent. Commerce also found that the scope of the investigations covers Chinese cells and modules manufactured from Chinese cells as well as modules assembled in China from third-country cells.
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA and its 1,100 member companies are building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.