In new filings with the U.S. Department of Commerce, SolarWorld has asked for an investigation into the trade implications of the Chinese military's alleged cyber spying on SolarWorld.
According to SolarWorld, which has long disputed with Chinese competitors over alleged anti-competitive trade practices, the alleged spying occurred during the time that the company was litigating its original trade cases against the Chinese government and its state-controlled solar producers. The company says it is calling on Commerce to question the Chinese government about whether and how its solar producers benefited from the alleged computer espionage. It is also asking that Commerce review current cases and contemplate sanctions against the Chinese government.
In late May, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against five members of the People's Liberation Army of China for alleged spying attacks on five U.S. companies and a labor union, four of which had mounted trade cases against China.
The indictment accused Chinese military personnel of capturing SolarWorld emails containing secret financial, production, research and development, and trade litigation details from May to September 2012. The captured documents, the DOJ indictment says, included trade-case submissions that contained propriety corporate data bearing special confidentiality protections.
In its new Commerce submission, SolarWorld says it is imperative that"the Department further investigate the effects of the espionage on this proceeding and determine the extent of harm to SolarWorld's competitive position as a result of this (government)-backed theft of proprietary and privileged information by issuing additional questionnaires to the [Chinese government] ….’