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Chris Keenan
Chris Keenan

The United States and China Clash Over Solar Panels

The United States and China are at odds over China's exporting cheap solar panels to US soil. US solar firms are upset because Chinese solar panels are priced so low that American products can't compete. Consequently, President Obama has been asked by seven solar firms to place duties (duties of over 100 percent) on the Chinese solar imports. Naturally, Chinese solar panel manufacturers are displeased with this reaction.

A statement was issued on the Chinese Commerce Ministry's website that reads,

“If the U.S. government files a case, adopts duties and sends an inappropriate protectionist signal, it would cast a shadow over world economic recovery. . . . The Chinese government hopes the United States will scrupulously abide by its promise to oppose trade protectionism, avoid adopting protectionist measures on Chinese solar cell products, jointly protect a free, open and fair international trade environment, and adopt more rational means of handling trade frictions.â€

Importing Chinese solar panels is a controversial issue. The American economy is struggling, and the Chinese economy is struggling. The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing has responded to China, vehemently stating, “The aggressive dumping as well as massive illegal subsidies from the Chinese government have cost the US industry thousands of jobs . . . and have forced more than seven companies to close or downsize in the past 18 months.â€

China's perspective is that solar energy is an important thing and that the American firms are wrong in condemning China just because they are able to produce the solar panels and sell them at a much lower cost. According to one Chinese ministry official, “The US has no reason to criticize other countries' efforts to improve the world's environment, and should instead strengthen cooperation with other countries in the solar energy sphere to jointly respond to climate and environmental challenges.â€

What are your thoughts on this issue? Should China be allowed to continue with their ultra-cheap exports, at the expense of the American economy? Is there a way to remedy the situation? It seems far more difficult than repairing a garage door.

Affordable solar paneling is something that has always been strived for, but if it comes at the cost of cheap Chinese labor and damaging the American economy, is it worth it? According to the American solar coalition, “China's predatory and illegal aggression is crippling the US industry.â€

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