US Senator Urges Obama to Limit Imports of Chinese Solar Panels

Posted September 9th, 2011 at 12:05 am (UTC-5)
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A United States senator is urging President Barack Obama to limit surging imports of Chinese-made solar panels, saying it is costing American jobs and could put the U.S. solar industry out of business.

In a letter sent to Mr. Obama on Thursday, Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon says imports of Chinese-made solar panels grew more than 1,500 percent between 2006 and 2010, and are on pace to increase 240 percent this year. Wyden told the president it is obvious the impact these imports “appear to be inflicting on our domestic industry.”

Just last week, California-based solar panel manufacturer Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, in part due to heavy competition from Chinese producers. It is the third U.S.-based solar panel maker to seek bankruptcy protection.

Wyden reminds Mr. Obama that he can impose tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels under the rules of the World Trade Organization. The president took such action against Chinese tire imports in 2009.

The Chinese government heavily subsidizes many goods and services, making American products appear too expensive on the global market. U.S. lawmakers have also accused China of purposely undervaluing its currency, the yuan, putting U.S. goods at a further disadvantage.