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U.S. Imposes Tariffs On Chinese Solar Cells 345

New submitter kimtysirt sends this excerpt from a Bloomberg report about U.S. tariffs for Chinese solar panels: "The U.S. yesterday imposed tariffs of as much as 250 percent on Chinese-made solar cells to aid domestic manufacturers beset by foreign competition, though critics said the decision may end up raising prices and hurting the U.S. renewable energy industry. The U.S. Commerce Department ruled that Chinese manufacturers sold cells in the U.S. at prices below the cost of production and announced preliminary antidumping duties ranging from 31 percent to 250 percent, depending on the manufacturer. China criticized the action, saying the U.S. is hurting itself and cooperation between the world’s two largest economies. The decision is meant to provide a boost to the U.S. solar manufacturing industry, where four companies filed for bankruptcy in the past year."
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U.S. Imposes Tariffs On Chinese Solar Cells

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  • This is good news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @09:47AM (#40040333)

    As someone who knows what foreign manufacturing does to local economy (UK based and lived through the death of Sheffield Steel and British Coal), this is the only fix - to impose tariffs on foreign made goods, because we do have the technology and infrastructure to make this stuff ourselves; the only thing we're doing by outsourcing is PUTTING PEOPLE OUT OF WORK. This (taxing foreign goods) stimulates the local economy; hands up those who think this is in any way bad??

    I would do the same thing to fix the auto industry (and raw materials eg refined aluminium and steel/alloys). Why? Because we've outsourced to Japan and China, they're getting rich selling us shitty cars, while our local auto industry (which used to make quality cars most of which still run after 20, 30, 40 or even 50+ years! Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Leyland, Rover...) has died a death or sold out to BMW who get most of their coachwork from... CHINA!

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @09:49AM (#40040347) Homepage Journal

    How would they run out of money? The government of China has and can force its banks to give loans that essentially never have to be repaid to these vendors.

    Why would they? What would the Chinese government gain by flooding the solar panels market with things that cost more than they sell for?

    Are you being serious? Dumping is a well understood practice. I will put it in Slashdot terms.

    Step 1: Set up huge industry with government captial
    Step 2: Start selling goods in foreign markets at well below what it cost to make them
    Step 3: Watch as foreign competitors go bankrupt
    Step 4: Crank up prices as no competition is left, then lend foreigners the money needed to buy goods
    Step 5: ???

    The question marks are at the end because the only thing unknown about this situation is whether china will use their wealth to simply buy up everything in the world, or to buy up just the military might and then watch as all the peasant nations fight over who will get to supply china with movies and music.

  • by rocker_wannabe ( 673157 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @10:03AM (#40040499)

    Companies go on and on about the beauty of the "free market system" until it doesn't work for them. The U.S. government rushes in to help companies stay competitive but doesn't do much to help our workforce stay competitive. Helping U.S. companies does not help U.S. workers like it once did. Most companies depend on labor outside the U.S. to some extent. Why can't they put a tax on outsourced labor to make U.S. wage rates competitive?

    I've never seen a U.S. congress that cared less about it's people than this one. The message from out government is if you can't figure out how to make a livable wage in this recession then just disappear so we don't have to deal with you. The real "kick in the head" is that if I didn't have to support our bloated local, state and federal government, deal with reams of regulations, and spend large amounts of money on insurance to protect me from a litigious society then I could be competitive with the rest of the world.

  • by Pumpkin Tuna ( 1033058 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @10:46AM (#40041037)

    Exactly. Wal Mart did this when it first opened pharmacies in its stores. They cut their prices to the point that the individual Wal Mart pharmacy was losing money on every prescription. They could afford the loss because they were huge and the other products made up for the loss. A year or two later, when they had driven the local home-town pharmacies out of business, they jacked the prices back up.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @10:51AM (#40041085)

    Lets not forget that the Chinese had no ability to manufacture many products until they acquired technology. In many cases, this was government sponsored espionage.

    A favorite story I have is from a VP in manufacturing, when they went to set up shop in China (as being required by a large US company). This was during the time we heard the tale that "If you want to sell products in China you have to build factories there". The VP toured other factories there that were owned by a UK firm that had been there for a few years and doing similar manufacturing. The VP was warned:

    All parts of the plant construction process are going to be "monitored" by government officials. Every component will get measured, weighed, pictures taken, etc.. The day your factory completes and comes on line, you will be allowed a few days of production. During your initial production, Government monitors will be all over the place, writing down everything that gets done. Every process you have, every step you take, and every technical detail they can see will be written down. On about the third day, the Government is going to force you to close and nobody will be allowed inside the plant. When you are closed, they will send in a team of Engineers that will blue print your plant. This is to verify that you made no changes, and that their initial written specs were correct. After a couple days of "Government Inspections" you will be allowed back in your plant.

    The VP was driven 2 miles away later, where he saw a plant that looked exactly like the UK plant. Oddly, they made the same thing as the UK plant, except that their products sold in China where the UK plant still had no ability to sell. The VP and Company did not open a plant in China, and are still doing very well to this day manufacturing in the US. The UK business went under about 9 years ago.

  • by mk1004 ( 2488060 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @10:59AM (#40041187)
    They've already done this with vitamins. There are no longer any domestic producers and the Chinese increased their prices as soon as the competition went away. Yes, we could re-enter the market, but the start up costs are non-trivial. And what's to stop the Chinese from doing the same thing all over again? That's what makes a significant barrier to market entry.
  • by emarkp ( 67813 ) <slashdot&roadq,com> on Friday May 18, 2012 @11:03AM (#40041243) Journal

    Uh, Wal Mart is still selling generics at $4 per refill. Where are the raised prices?

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @12:22PM (#40042277)

    Won't be given in my case since the people I knew may still work there, sorry. There are numerous stories you can read on Google that are very similar.

    Let me ask a few questions to get the point across. How many GM cars are sold in China? What is the number 1 selling car in China, and what does it look like? This is true for many items. Foreigner owned plants in China do not sell much to China, if they sell anything at all. Yet there are countless clone items made by Chinese manufactures in China that are sold to the Chinese. You can easily find story after story like this. The typical answer from the Chinese government is "We are working to stop IP theft", but occasionally you hear "China owns that IP so piss off!".

    To the US, this may seem horrible and wrong. In China, to the Chinese Government this is as it should be. Plants are there to serve the people of China, not foreign interests. Foreign interests only get involved when it benefits China.

    You can't argue Western culture and values when it comes to an Eastern culture and value system. This is why you won't see a Chinese manufacturer open a plant in America. IP created in China belongs to the people (aka. Government). This includes all aspects of production from design and engineering to building and distribution.

    Sit with some people from China, have some long talks. You will really learn quite a bit.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @01:48PM (#40043463)
    The thing is, corn isn't subsidized because the government wants cheap HFCS. It's subsidized because the government wants overproduction of food so we won't have people going hungry if there's a bunch of crop failures like in the 1930s. Cheap HFCS is merely a side effect ("gee, what can we do with all this excess corn?"). You can make completely valid and compelling arguments against cheap HFCS, but they won't get you anywhere because you're cherry-picking the most unfavorable aspect of corn subsidies to try to make them look bad. You're not addressing the real issue. The starvation argument will win out every time simply because it's more important. If you want to end corn subsidies, you need to address it from the starvation/crop failure angle.
  • by KhabaLox ( 1906148 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @01:56PM (#40043569)

    Even the clothing section has made in USA.

    You realize that those clothes are made in the Marianas Islands and other US territories with much less stringent labor regulations than the actual states' part of the United States and wage rates comparable to those of China, right?

  • by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:11PM (#40043805)

    My only counter-point to your post is "if there is no intention to achieve a global monopoly on solar cell production, why is the Chinese gov't allowing heavily subsidized solar cells to be exported in such high quantities if they have set such a lofty goal for solar production/use in China?"

    By no means is the US an angel when it comes to trade agreements.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead