Suntech Fires Back At SolarWorld China Claims

China-based Suntech, the self-proclaimed world’s largest solar panel producer, says it isn’t breaking the rules.

“We are confident in our position and well-prepared to substantiate our strict adherence to fair international trade practices,” the company’s San Francisco office said, one day after SolarWorld charged that Chinese crystalline solar photovoltaics manufacturers are taking advantage of unfair subsidies and illegally dumping product on the U.S. market.

image via Suntech

SolarWorld American Industries, the Oregon-based division of the German company, petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce (DOC) to take punitive action against Chinese companies. Under U.S. law and world trade rules, should any tariffs ultimately be levied on Chinese manufacturers, they would be targeted according to the U.S. government’s assessment of the degree to which a company is receiving unfair support.

Suntech highlighted this in its statement, saying, “Companies listed in the petition are not subject to a single blanket judgment, and each individual company, including Suntech, will respond in accordance with ITC & DOC guidelines.” The company said, as well, that, “Anyone can file one of these actions; having filed an action is in no way a validation from the US government as to the merits of the action.”

Suntech, it should be noted, doesn’t do all of its manufacturing in China – in the past year it opened a plant in Goodyear, Ariz. In May, Suntech said it had added a third shift and was employing 107 people and expected to produce around 50MW in solar power capacity a year at Goodyear. Globally, Suntech has said it expects to produce 2,200 MW of capacity this year.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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