In a 138-page rebuttal to a petition for anti-dumping tariffs, the trade group insisted the solar industry would miss 46,000 jobs by 2023 if tariffs were put in place.

Calling for a petition from a publicly unidentified group of companies for tariffs on solar imports from Southeast Asia “unfounded,” the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) sought to rebut the credibility of the case in a 138-page response to US Department of Commerce Secretary Gina. Raimondo.

The document attacked what SEIA called a series of “false narratives,” including a “patently false claim that SEIA rejects the need for domestic manufacture” and other claims regarding SEIA’s interests.

In a statement, SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said the business group “is the voice of the US solar industry and represents the interests of US solar workers and businesses.” She said the group was leading the fight against the tariff demand to protect the 10,000 solar companies and 231,000 solar workers in this country from the “monetary interests” behind the petition.

Abigail Ross Hopper

Image: SEIA

In mid-October, lawyers for the publicly anonymous group identified to federal trade officials the identities of members involved in U.S. Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Bypass (A-SMACC). Lawyers for the group have asked Commerce Department officials to keep names private from the public for fear of reprisal.

“SEIA’s statement simply shows that they are prepared to allow unfair and destructive business practices by state-backed Chinese companies,” Timothy Brightbill said in an email to review pv. Brightbill is part of the Wiley Rein law firm of Washington, DC, which represents A-ASMACC. “Solar manufacturing in the United States is on the rise – and it’s the best future for our country and for the world. “

‘Unfair competition

In August, the A-SMACC asked trade officials to investigate the unfairness of imports from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, arguing that Chinese companies had shifted production to those countries in recent years to avoid existing US taxes on solar cells and panels made in China.

At the end of September, the Commerce Department postponed a decision and asked the group to identify its members.

In its response, the group disclosed its members to Commerce officials, Brightbill said. In a publicly available version of the response, which was obtained by pv magazine, the names of the members had been deleted. A-SMACC argued that identifying its members could expose them to retaliation from the Chinese solar industry and could disrupt the supply of module components like polysilicon.

Timothy brightbill

In its 28-page brief, the group said the case “involved China’s strategic economic interests” and was likely to generate a response that “would target A-SMACC members if their identities were made public.” . He said the overseas investments that are the subject of the tariff request are “the result of industrial and strategic economic priorities at the highest levels of the Chinese government.”

The A-SMACC case also accused the SEIA “of functioning effectively as a Washington, DC-based oversight body for Chinese solar interests, making it unnecessary for Chinese entities to directly determine the identity of members of the A-SMACC. ‘A-SMACC “.

Ask “recklessly”

In SEIA’s rebuttal statement issued Oct. 25, Ross Hopper said that “without the integrity of identifying who they are and who they represent, a shadow group of anonymous petitioners recklessly calls on our government to misinterpret US law , turn the lives of thousands of American families upside down and undermine any hope we have of mitigating the devastating effects of climate change.

At a press conference at the end of September, SEIA said that nearly 80% of all solar modules are imported from the countries subject to the petition, including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

“The United States will ‘miss another 46,000 solar jobs by 2023,’ SEIA said.

George Hershman, president and CEO of Swinerton Renewable Energy told reporters at the time that 90 to 95 percent of the modules his company plans to import could be affected. And he said “100%” of the 7.5 GW of projects his company has in the pipeline through 2022 would be at risk.

“This is absolutely the biggest risk and problem for our business and the industry,” Hershman said at the press conference. He is also chairman of the executive committee of SEIA.

Ross Hopper’s Oct. 25 statement said the trade group had previously predicted that the Trump-era action known as Section 201 tariffs would result in a “significant loss” in deployment, jobs and equipment. ‘investments.

“We now know that at least 10 GW of solar installations, 62,000 US solar jobs and $ 19 billion in investment have been lost as a result,” she said.

His statement went on to say that SEIA can “confidently predict” that if bypass tariffs are imposed, the United States “will lose another 46,000 solar jobs by 2023, including 15,000 lost manufacturing jobs.”

In his email to pv magazine, Brightbill said that “SEIA’s claims about lost jobs are as ludicrous today as they were 10 years ago.” He said solar power is booming and “the best way to ensure long-term growth is to strengthen the whole industry – and that means manufacturing, R&D and investment in America, not just China ”.

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