Chinese solar panel makers on Tuesday rejected an anti-dumping complaint filed in the US by competitor SolarWorld, saying it risked "seriously hindering the development of green energy."
"China's photovoltaic industry has greatly contributed to the development of the global market," Wang Guiqing, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce, told a press conference, speaking on behalf of Chinese companies.
Last month, SolarWorld Industries America, a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG of Germany and the leading manufacturer in the sector in the US, asked the Obama administration to impose trade sanctions on China for subsidising its solar panel exporters and encouraging what it called unfair competition.
"The photovoltaic industry based in China has formed a united front to counter the US investigation," Wang said.
Wang added that "the competitive advantages of Chinese photovoltaic companies are due primarily to the concentration of the industrial chain inside China," and not due to Chinese government grants.
"The Chinese government has provided a much smaller amount of support to Chinese PV companies" for their development of green energy than have the governments of the United States and Europe, Wang said.
Wang added that SolarWorld had received at least $43 million in tax breaks and public subsidies at a single factory in the US and more than 136 million euros ($182 million) in public aid in Europe.
Chinese manufacturers also said they had purchased $3 billion worth of equipment and licenses in the US in 2010 alone, and claimed to be supported by 101 US companies in the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE).
For its part, SolarWorld draws support from six companies in the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), which, Wang said, "represent only a tiny share of US manufacturers."
Chinese executives whose companies are heavily dependent on solar panel exports to Europe said they were feeling threatened by the region's debt crisis.
"Our strategy is diversification," Shi Zhengrong, CEO of Suntech, China's first solar panel maker, told AFP. "The volume of sales has increased in recent years, but sales in other regions have increased even faster."
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