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USA going bananas with its Solar Trade Policies – Taiwan in the crosshairs

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USA cannot have best of both the worlds

USA is going bananas with its solar trade policy and seems to have little clue on what to do. The champion of the free markets has been going hammer and tongs against other countries in the solar industry. USA has already imposed tough anti -dumping and countervailing duties on China last year. However the half baked dumb policy had no effect on the current conditions, as the Chinese companies shifted their procurement from Taiwan to counteract against the US imposition of duties on Chinese solar cells. This meant that China continued to win a lion’s share of the USA solar market which grew to more than 4 GW in 2013. Solarworld the German company which has been instrumental in filing cases in USA ITC and Commerce Ministry is now trying to get Taiwan also included in the duties.

Read more about Global solar Wars here.

The USA government will make a preliminary decision on imposing duties on Taiwan made solar cells by March 28th. Note one of the biggest reasons for the growth in the US solar market have been the super cheap imports of panels from China. The USA solar industry has seen an exponential increase in solar installation jobs though manufacturing jobs have remained moribound. Solarworld is opposed by most of the solar industry who think that fighting amongst countries is stupid for all concerned. It raises costs for solar energy which is fighting against fossil fuel energy sources to become a viable competitor. Europe and China have done a settlement which has helped solar industry in both countries.

USA on the other hand is going bananas. It recently filed a case against India for being protectionist even has already done the same thing. India will probably start an anti-dumping duty case against USA based manufacturers, which will hurt USA even more. USA cannot play on both sides of the fence. Either it will have to champion free trade or allow for protectionism. This sort of behavior will only lead to losses as countries start to target USA companies. USA is also only 15% of the global solar market, which means that it does not have too much influence.


The U.S. International Trade Commission is expected to rule today on a complaint that’s intended to protect the U.S. solar industry and may hinder more companies than it helps.The commission is set to make a preliminary decision on whether solar products imported from Taiwan and China harmed U.S. producers, a protectionist strategy sought by a U.S. panel manufacturer that’s part of the industry’s slowest-growing segment.

“It’s infuriating what SolarWorld is trying to do,” said John Berger, chief executive officer of Sunnova Energy Corp., a Houston-based rooftop solar developer. “It’s a disservice to the industry. It will be negative for U.S. employment.”

Solar imports from China were worth about $2.1 billion in 2012 and from Taiwan about $513 million, according to the Commerce Department.“A loophole in the trade remedy in our U.S. cases enabled China to circumvent import duties,” Frank Asbeck, founder and chief executive officer of Bonn-based SolarWorld, said in a Feb. 5 open letter to President Barack Obama. “Some in the United States want only the cheapest solar panels they can find, without regard for issues of fairness — or product quality.”


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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