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Patricia O'Connell
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Tim Brightbill Discusses Impact of China’s Unfair Trade Practices on U.S. Solar Industry

Dallas Business Journal
November 1, 2013

Tim Brightbill, a partner in Wiley Rein’s International Trade Practice, was quoted by the Dallas Business Journal today in an article about the negative impact of China’s unfair trade practices on the U.S. solar industry.

While demand for solar panels in this country is at an all-time high, American manufacturers are struggling because Chinese companies have flooded the market with cheaper products—a practice known as dumping.  From 2010 to 2012, China imported into the U.S. more than $5.7 billion worth of solar panels and solar cells, according to the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing. 

“The Chinese unfair trade practices have nearly killed the entire U.S. solar-manufacturing industry,” said Mr. Brightbill, who represents the coalition.  “There are only a handful of companies left, despite the fact that demand for solar is very large and growing and the fact that China does not have any sort of competitive advantage in terms of making these products.”

He noted that a loophole in the United States Department of Commerce’s landmark decision to tax Chinese-made solar panels has allowed Chinese manufacturers to avoid the duties by buying cells from Taiwan.  It’s difficult to distinguish components made in Taiwan from those made in China, Mr. Brightbill said.

“Because of the loophole, the U.S. companies are still being harmed, and they’re still under very significant financial pressure,” he said.

However, Mr. Brightbill holds out hope for American solar panel manufacturers.  “The U.S. industry can compete with [just about] anyone,” he said. “They can’t compete with the Chinese government.”