The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is offering an industry compromise between the U.S. and Chinese solar sectors that it says could serve as the centerpiece for a fair, negotiated settlement of outstanding issues.
Highlights of SEIA's proposal include the following:
- Chinese companies would agree to create a fund that would benefit U.S. solar manufacturers directly and help to grow the U.S. market. Money for the fund would come from a percentage of the price premium Chinese companies are currently paying to third-country cell producers to get around U.S. trade sanctions, reducing costs and supply chain distortion for Chinese companies.
- The Chinese government would also agree to end its anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on U.S. polysilicon exports to China, and remove the threat of artificial cost increases in a key raw material in the solar value chain, benefiting not just Chinese solar companies but all users of solar energy.
- U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duties orders would be phased out.
- The U.S. would establish a safeguard mechanism to offset any surge of Chinese solar modules into the U.S. market.
In addition, SEIA is calling for the establishment of the Solar Development Institute, which would be funded by Chinese manufacturers. The institute would focus on expanding the U.S. solar market for all participants and growing the U.S. solar manufacturing base. The institute would also serve as the primary vehicle for fostering long-term collaboration between the U.S. and Chinese solar industries, including joint research and development projects as well as collaboration on environment, health, safety, and codes and standards initiatives.
SEIA says it decided to step into the breach with its proposals based on the direction China and the U.S. appeared to be headed in their negotiations, with an emphasis on price structures.
‘While we are encouraged that negotiations to resolve the solar trade dispute are continuing in earnest, the discussions appear to be focused right now on a minimum price and/or quotas,’ says John Smirnow, SEIA's vice president of trade and competitiveness. ‘This is a misguided approach. Any settlement which includes these components would represent a significant step backwards for the U.S. solar industry and the solar industry globally.’