Chinese association considering probe on U.S. polysilicon

In response to a complaint against Chinese solar manufacturers filed by SolarWorld on Oct. 9, some Chinese solar companies are considering the launch of an anti-dumping and subsidy probe into imports of U.S. polysilicon, Reuters reports.

The Chinese association considering the probe, the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance, reportedly has no timetable set for the filing of the petition with China’s commerce ministry. The alliance consists of GCL Poly Energy Holdings, Suntech Power Holdings and Yingli Green Energy. These three companies comprise about 70 percent of China’s polysilicon production and more than half of the country’s solar panel production.

According to GTM Research and the U.S. Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), the U.S. is a net exporter of solar products to China by more than $200 million and to the world by nearly $2 billion. Many U.S. companies are leaders in the production of polysilicon, a key material input for crystalline silicon solar cells, as well as manufacturing equipment. In 2010, American companies exported $873 million of polysilicon and nearly $1 billion of manufacturing equipment to China.

Jigar Shah, co-founder of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), a U.S. group opposed to SolarWorld’s filing, said that SolarWorld’s actions have sparked a potential solar trade war. “As the world's two largest energy producers and consumers, the U.S. and China must work together to solve our planet’s energy and environmental crisis.”

CASE is urging SolarWorld to withdraw its complaint and for China-based PV companies to stand-down in turn.

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