On May 17, the US Commerce Department will announce its decision regarding anti-dumping duties on Chinese-produced solar panels entering US markets. This announcement will hopefully conclude a months-long process of posturing and advocacy the results of which, in our view, will underscore a simple axiom about business, competition and today’s global marketplace: Companies win through innovation, not government protection.
Keep in mind that the protest regarding allegations that China is dumping its solar cells at prices below their cost was initiated by a German-owned company with a single facility in Oregon. When the Oregon affiliate failed to keep pace with its industry competition — mostly Chinese manufacturers who have entered the solar panel market — it filed a petition with Uncle Sam looking for help. The effect? To date, the imposition of modest tariffs on certain solar panels imported from China. But come May 17, there’s potential for even more significant duties. This could significantly impact the price of solar energy components in the US and possibly precipitate a broader trade war between the United States and a key strategic trade partner.