20 July 2012
The Chinese government today said it will open investigations into imported US and South Korean polycrystalline silicon PV, the latest move in the escalating “solar industry trade war.”
China’s Ministry of Commerce, citing preliminary evidence from several companies including GCL Poly-Energy Holdings, LDK Solar and Daqo New Energy, issued the decisions on its website.
Earlier this year, the US imposed new tariffs on Chinese PV imports, and accused the county of illegally “dumping” inventory in the US market, drawing sharp criticism from Chinese companies and officials who have threatened to impose trade duties on US polysilicon in return.
US companies fired back today, telling both governments that the escalating trade disputes will hurt the entire industry.
This issue is serious and could impact Hemlock Semiconductor’s ability to sell material to China (its largest market), if the Chinese government assesses duties against US manufactured polysilicon sold into China,” Dow Corning President and CEO Robert D. Hansen said.
Dow Corning is the majority owner of Hemlock Semiconductor, one of the world's largest manufacturers of polycrystalline silicon based in Hemlock, Michigan.
“This case proves that no country or industry wins when trade disputes escalate,” Hansen said. “In China, these actions threaten the Chinese solar industry’s access to the critical technical collaboration and material supply companies like Hemlock Semiconductor currently provide Chinese solar cell and module producers. This could lead to higher costs and potentially less globally competitive solar products from China. In the United States, more than $1 billion of US exports and potentially thousands of US jobs across the solar value chain are at risk — as is the steady growth of the US solar industry.”
REC Silicon, which has been named a respondent in China’s trade case filing, denied any wrongdoing and said it “regrets this escalation of the solar industry trade war.”
The company also had harsh words for SolarWorld, which REC accused of provoking the “trade war” when it, along with six other PV manufacturers, filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions with the US Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission.
“REC has opposed the imposed import duties in the US, and has voiced its opposition to a threatened trade case against Chinese made solar modules imported into Europe,” the company said in a statement. “REC firmly believes that cost reductions are needed throughout the entire the solar energy value chain in order to make solar energy cost competitive and thereby promote the adaption of solar energy globally.
“REC urges the US and China to engage in constructive dialogue to prevent this destructive trade war.”