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Canadian company fires back after US trade complaint

Published by Steve Coleman on November 07, 2011

A Canadian company is firing back after an array of seven US solar cell manufacturers filed a trade complaint against China with the American government.

Canadian Solar, Inc. says the Oct. 19 petition from SolarWorld Industries America and six co-signers is "exaggerated and without merit."

"We urge the US authorities to put first the interest of the hundreds of thousands of American citizens and businesses who have benefited from affordable solar power, either as consumers or workers in the U.S. solar industry," Canadian Solar said Nov. 7 in response to the trade complaint." We believe the petition is counter-productive to the continued development of the solar industry, including the multitude of upstream and downstream businesses located in the United States, and to the development of lower priced products needed to make solar power an economically attractive alternative to traditional power sources.

When it launched the complaint, the US companies said Chinese subsidies for the industry are decimating operations at home.

"Artificially low-priced solar products from China are crippling the domestic industry," said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc. "As the strongest and most experienced US producer, SolarWorld is leading the effort to hold China accountable to world trade law."

Imports of Chinese crystalline solar cells and panels rose more than 300 per cent from 2008 to 2010, the US makers said. In July 2011 alone, exports exceeded those from all of 2010.

In the first eight months of 2011, Chinese imports into the United States were worth $1.6 billion. In the past year-and-a-half, seven US employers have shut down or downsized, not including cutbacks among manufacturers who produce a new variety type of thin-film solar technology.

Although it has plants in China, Canadian Solar says it has always followed international trade rules and been an active free trade supporter.

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