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Tim Brightbill Comments on Tariffs Placed on Solar Equipment from China

E&E Reporter
July 25, 2012

Tim Brightbill, a partner in the International Trade Practice, was interviewed by E&E Reporter after the owner of a solar equipment store in Hawaii was forced to cover tariffs the U.S. government placed on panels bought from China.

E&E reported that the international dispute “began last October when SolarWorld Industries America — the largest solar manufacturer in the United States — joined a half-dozen smaller U.S. module makers to file a complaint with Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission.”

Mr. Brightbill, SolarWorld’s lawyer in the trade case, told E&E there is clear evidence that subsidized Chinese panel imports peaked prior to the Commerce Department’s ruling.  “The intent is not to harm other customers or installers in the industry, but U.S. manufacturers have been harmed by Chinese imports, which is why we had to take this action in the first place,” said Mr. Brightbill.

Mr. Brightbill pointed out that over the last two years at least 13 U.S. solar panel producers have had to shut down, declare bankruptcy or undertake significant layoffs because of the actions by the Chinese government and Chinese solar manufacturers.

“We tried to warn people so they wouldn't get caught in this situation," Mr. Brightbill said. "We understand that some purchasers and importers don't have full knowledge of the trade laws, but at the same time, they were buying dumped and subsidized Chinese product that are continuing to harm the U.S. industry.”