CASM To The Media: Do Some Fact-Checking
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The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) has criticized media outlets for perpetuating what it describes as myths that "Big China Solar has promoted to divert attention from the reality of its trade practices" and urged media representatives to "fact-check the top myths."Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc. and the leader of CASM, has not called out any specific media outlet."Circulating inaccurate claims on so many topics reflects cynicism about this public process, improperly tries to manipulate media coverage and insults the intelligence of the American people," he said in a statement. "Fortunately, we depend on federal trade investigators, not the echo chambers of our opposition's reckless claims, to study the factual record."
According to CASM, these are the top five myths:Myth 1: Chinese producers and their U.S. importers and installers represent the mainstream of U.S. industry.Fact: CASM represents more than 210 U.S. employers of more than 17,000 employees in the U.S. industry, at least 85% of which are downstream firms such as installers.Myth 2: Anti-dumping and countervailing duties will halt the U.S. solar industry's growth.Fact: The U.S. solar market is growing; in fact, it doubled in size last year. The market can be expected to continue to grow, and the imposition of duties to eliminate China's unfair trade practices will not slow such growth.Myth 3: U.S. solar manufacturers support these trade cases because they cannot compete with the Chinese industry on production costs.Fact: In a report on global manufacturing costs, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that without state sponsorship, Chinese producers face a 5% cost disadvantage in making and delivering solar products to the U.S. market.
A variety of other industry experts and analysts have confirmed that U.S. solar manufacturers are highly competitive, particularly because labor represents less than 10% of the cost of solar manufacturing.Myth 4: The U.S. solar industry enjoys a trade surplus with China and the world.Fact: While the U.S. solar industry had a trade surplus with China and the world as recently as 2010, the balance of trade dramatically reversed in a single year. Since 2011, the U.S. has suffered a massive solar trade deficit with China and the world.Myth 5: SolarWorld has received millions of dollars in U.S. federal subsidies, including loans from the U.S. Ex-Im Bank.Fact: Unlike China's system, the U.S. government is open and transparent, so the baseless nature of this claim is easily shown. SolarWorld received no federal subsidies to offset more than $500 million that the company invested to expand its U.S. operations.
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