Retaliation and escalation in the U.S.-China solar trade war

posted at 9:01 pm on September 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

And the entirely self-defeating and economy-shrinking trade war that comes from first heavily subsidizing your own domestic industries, and then imposing tariffs on foreign ones, rolls on.

President Obama has often complained about China ‘unfairly’ subsidizing their solar-panel industry and providing themselves with an unwarranted competitive advantage, and the Obama administration has even slapped tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels to supposedly ‘level the playing field.’

…Why it’s somehow ‘unfair’ when China subsidizes their domestic solar industry, but perfectly acceptable when we do it (and how), remains a mystery, especially since China has turned their own domestic solar industry into a hot mess of oversupply through the artificial market signals they willfully created and companies have lately been declaring bankruptcy right and left.

But stupid is as stupid does, and China has to try and save its flailing industry any way it can. Via Reuters:

China said on Monday that it would impose preliminary anti-subsidy duties on some imports of U.S. solar-grade polysilicon, a move that could intensify trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

China’s Commerce Ministry said it would hit U.S. imports of the material used to make solar panels with relatively low duties of up to 6.5 percent, amid trade frictions in the struggling global solar industry.

That follows the ministry’s much heftier anti-dumping duties – used for goods sold below market value – of 53.3 to 57 percent on U.S. polysilicon in July, a move which many saw as a bid to protect China’s struggling domestic industry. Washington called those duties disappointing.

According to its investigation, “subsidies exist and China’s polysilicon industry suffered substantial harm”, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

I can hardly wait to hear from the Obama administration about how this is “unfair,” “unacceptable,” “uncalled for,” blah blah blah, when they’re falling all over themselves to do the exact same thing.


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0 Solar

Bmore on September 17, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Hey, if libs didn’t have hypocrisy, they’d have… well, nothing.

Midas on September 17, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Talk about one of Barky’s “dumb wars”, this is one that doesn’t need to be fought.

We’re swimming in our own natural energy resources but aren’t allowed to harvest them, meanwhile Dog Eater and his party of Luddites dream about living in peat huts and scraping termites from tree bark “just like the noble Indians did!”.

Bishop on September 17, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Solar panels: more energy go into making them than you will ever get out of them.

ajacksonian on September 17, 2013 at 9:09 PM

When they make solar panels that will generate electricity under moon light then they’ll make economic sense.

JimK on September 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Last week I fantasized I was in Hangzhou with Erika.

It turned out to be mostly real, but not Erika.

DarkCurrent on September 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

0 will win on solar the same way he did Syria.

Bmore on September 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

You forget, when the Obamassiah does something that he accuses other of, with him, it’s “different”.

See the “nuance”?

GarandFan on September 17, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Waiting for the day that China demands “You will do [fill-in-the-blank] or else we’ll cease buying your debt.”

Perhaps that would actually turn out to be a good thing in the long-run?

ShainS on September 17, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I can hardly wait to hear from the Obama administration about how this is “unfair,” “unacceptable,” “uncalled for,” blah blah blah, when they’re falling all over themselves to do the exact same thing.

The REB is shocked that Affirmative Action does not apply in his relations with other countries.

slickwillie2001 on September 17, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Prediction: We cave to the Godless ChiComms.

But what difference do it makey?

PappyD61 on September 17, 2013 at 9:29 PM

0 Solar

Bmore on September 17, 2013 at 9:05 PM

…click on the first Bishop….people

KOOLAID2 on September 17, 2013 at 9:42 PM

We’re swimming in our own natural energy resources but aren’t allowed to harvest them, meanwhile Dog Eater and his party of Luddites dream about living in peat huts and scraping termites from tree bark “just like the noble Indians did!”.

Bishop on September 17, 2013 at 9:09 PM

That’s what the peons will be doing.

The elite, like The One, will be eating arugula and foie gras’ in their castles. After all, they’re entitled on the grounds of their Total Wisdom and General Wonderfulness(TM).

And they actually believe they’ll still have the iPods, too. Nobody makes those, you know- they just, well, exist.

clear ether

eon

eon on September 17, 2013 at 9:44 PM

What does Putin think obozo should do?

Flange on September 17, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Really? Is Erika HotAir’s official international trade expert? If so why no mention of the other WTO members who raised the same objections to China’s panel dumping. Also, please detail the specific US subsidies for US panel manufacturers. You clearly stated that US manufacturers get ‘exactly’ the same support as their Chinese counterparts from their respective governments but please do explain how that is true. Most of the incentives I know of are for panel owners and there is no discrimination between panel manufacturers. I have a client in the industry and they get no handouts as manufacturers. Grants are over and SREC’s are based of actual generation rather than where the panel manufactured.

lexhamfox on September 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Why don’t we hear anything about Solyndra anymore? After all they blamed China for Solyndra going under.

The elites in the media continue to cover for this administration.

nazo311 on September 18, 2013 at 12:13 AM

but..but…but..

This is how we heal the planet and part the waters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2pZSvq9bto

shorebird on September 18, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Really? Is Erika HotAir’s official international trade expert? If so why no mention of the other WTO members who raised the same objections to China’s panel dumping. Also, please detail the specific US subsidies for US panel manufacturers. You clearly stated that US manufacturers get ‘exactly’ the same support as their Chinese counterparts from their respective governments but please do explain how that is true. Most of the incentives I know of are for panel owners and there is no discrimination between panel manufacturers. I have a client in the industry and they get no handouts as manufacturers. Grants are over and SREC’s are based of actual generation rather than where the panel manufactured.

lexhamfox on September 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Solar companies which supported Obama got subsidies, Solyndra is only the best known because it sucked up a fortune in taxpayer dough before going belly-up and screwing the taxpayer in the process.

When Erika said “doing the exact same thing,” she was talking about subsidies and tariffs, not that the exact same amount of each is applied. But of course you understand that, don’t you?

Adjoran on September 18, 2013 at 1:33 AM

Adjoran on September 18, 2013 at 1:33 AM

A loan or venture debt or commercial credit is not a subsidy. If it were you would have full scale international trade war going on. The loans were made at commercial rates and terms. Not a subsidy.

The Chinese companies named are PRC firms. Not at all the same as the US panel manufacturers. The incentives for solar panel owners are not dependent on national origin of the panels. The US policies pass WTO rules.

lexhamfox on September 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Let’s just let China deal with their own mess and end our “green initiatives”. We need a Congressperson to emphasize how dependent we are on China’s raw/precious materials to enact our “green policies”, while we dismantle our energy initiatives due to liberal intolerance.

djaymick on September 18, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Really? Is Erika HotAir’s official international trade expert?

lexhamfox on September 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM

She’s apparently HotAir’s official China expert. I have no idea why.

DarkCurrent on September 18, 2013 at 3:11 PM