Industry group releases statement against SolarWorld petition

An industry association for manufacturing supply chain photovoltaic (PV) products has released a statement of concern regarding SolarWorld's trade petition and its potential impact on the U.S. solar industry.

Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), a global industry association for the manufacturing supply chain for the micro- and nano-electronics industries, including semiconductors, PV and other industries, released a statement on Nov. 15 saying that the trade dispute’s potential impact on U.S. solar could result in the escalation of prices and a reduction of solar industry jobs.

SolarWorld and six other unnamed solar manufacturers filed an anti-trust complaint October 19 with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The petition claims that subsidies from the Chinese government are driving down the cost of solar panels and cells, making it difficult to compete in the industry.

According to 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 dollars and to the world by nearly $2 billion. A U.S.-China solar trade war could obstruct global solar trade and negatively impact many U.S. exporters of solar products, SEMI said.

Given the potential harm of the trade conflict, SEMI encourages the process to proceed on a “factual basis” and for companies involved to reach a “mutually acceptable accord that will serve the legitimate interest of all parties.”

SEMI is one of many groups to speak out against the SolarWorld petition. On Nov. 8, more than two dozen solar companies formed the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) in response to the petition. CASE asserts that the competitive prices for PV modules from China have been partially responsible for the growth of the solar industry.

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