New figures show the U.S. became a net importer of solar products from China last year. U.S. solar manufacturers are blaming unfair Chinese subsidies for the sudden shift in the trade balance.
Over the course of two years, the American solar industry went from having a trade surplus with China to having a deficit of more than a billion dollars.
Ben Santarris is with SolarWorld. He says his company in Hillsboro and other U.S. manufacturers have been hurt by illegal subsidies that lower the price of Chinese solar panels and undercut U.S. manufacturers.
Santarris said, “This shows incredibly stark changes in the balance of trade that comes about when a country the size of China is allowed to cheat. This is an instance where China has simply put its industry on steroids and it has run over us.”
Several U.S. solar manufacturers have asked the federal government to impose tariffs on Chinese solar imports to make up for unfair pricing. They are expecting a Commerce Department decision on the case later this month.