U.S. Moves Forward On SolarWorld China Claim

It was good news-bad news kind of day for SolarWorld today. Even as opposition emerged to its demand for sanctions on imports of crystalline silicon solar cells from China, the company and its fellow petitioners received word that the U.S. Department of Commerce was opening a formal investigation into the matter.

Under U.S. trade law, the department had 20 days from the initial filing by SolarWorld and its six unnamed partners to decide whether to move forward with a full-bore probe. “Today, Commerce announced its decision to initiate AD (antidumping) and CVD (countervailing duty) investigations of imports of solar cells from China,” the department said in a statement that included little elaboration. But SolarWorld has plenty to say.

solarworld china trade dispute

image via Wikimedia Commons

In a press release, the company said  it was “gratified that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined the company and its Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing represent a clear majority of the domestic manufacturing industry and found adequate cause for concern over Chinese solar export practices to initiate an intensive, year-long investigation.”

The Commerce Department said the next step in the dispute process would be for the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to make a preliminary injury determination on or about December 5. “If the ITC determines that there is a reasonable indication that imports from China are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, the domestic industry, the investigations will continue, and Commerce will be scheduled to make its CVD and AD preliminary determinations in January and March 2012, respectively,” the department said.

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.