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Balancing the Financial Power of Foreign Trade


Written By: Christine Dantz

Everything in life requires balance. Throughout history, many great empires have failed because they lacked symmetry in matters of the wallet. Domestic and foreign trades are a large piece of the financial power pie. For over 20 years, the U.S. has tilted the scale towards foreign imports, lining the pockets of its major creditor, instead of backing American made products. Almost a year ago, SolarWorld America pursued efforts to recalibrate that scale to benefit the former manufacturing powerhouse of the world. Its petition to the Commerce Department was the first step toward evening the playing field for struggling, American companies.

 Backintheusa.us Workers pack solar panels in Baoding, China. The Commerce Department was asked to place duties on modules with Chinese parts, expanding a trade dispute. Credit European Pressphoto Agency
Workers pack solar panels in Baoding, China. The Commerce Department was asked to place duties on modules with Chinese parts, expanding a trade dispute. Credit European Pressphoto Agency

A Petition to Put America First

SolarWorld America petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce on December 31, 2013 to close one of several loopholes in the trade code that lets manufacturers in China and Taiwan skirt around import duties and can sell their product at a much lower price. This imbalance was unfair to the Americans and companies such as SolarWorld America. In the drive to improve the wages of U.S. workers, this acts as a counterbalance, forcing companies to make up the difference or fail.

  • The Hillsboro, Ore. solar power equipment manufacturer is an American subsidy of a German company that's been operating in the U.S. since 1975. According to the company, many U.S. companies are suffering from the disproportion in fair trade practices. Federal law required Commerce officials to respond to the petition and make a decision within a reasonable period, if it should or should not investigate the allegations of inequality foreign trade laws.

Related Articles:

Cutting the Cord with China Boosts U.S. Solar Industry Sales

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  • In July of 2013, the European Union (EU) signed an agreement with the Asian countries eliminating the tariff on polysilicon (a key ingredient in solar panel production). This legal balance came after an investigation by the European Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, concluded that Chinese companies were purposely "dumping" solar panels into the EU, undercutting the local market. The Chinese and Taiwanese governments oversee import costs that bleed their American competitors with a 57-percent tariff on their polysilicon exports. Asian companies, in return, can assemble their product outside of the U.S. and avoid high import costs. Now was the time for the North American Nation to follow suit with their former guardian and put its' citizens first.

One of Many "Dumping" Schemes Counteracting Economic Balance

"Dumping" is an industry term in economics for the predatory practice of exporting products to another country at a price lower than it costs to produce in the purchasing country. It's a dirty word in international trade, but it wasn't illegal. In a world becoming too familiar with the profits over people motto, the practice tips the scale towards countries with fewer laws, oversights, and regulations hurting the foreign production and American wage earners the most.

  • An investigation by the Commerce Department provided proof of a group of steel pipe producers in Turkey, India, and seven additional countries selling pipes in the U.S. at prices so low they unfairly undercut U.S. manufacturers.
  • Brazil recently announced an investigation into copper tube exports from the U.S., Mexico, and China for anti-dumping violations.

The Proof is in the Power

By July 2014, China found itself in quite a fix over the solar "power-struggle" with American and European countries.

"…the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced its preliminary findings in the anti-dumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of some crystalline silicon PV products from China and Taiwan. Most solar products entering the U.S. market from China and Taiwan will now face import duties."

America needed to improve its performance in this international economic balancing act. Fair practices for Americans and American companies inside and outside its borders are a positive step towards setting an example for other nations to follow. SolarWorld America's petition assisted in taking the country forward in fair foreign trade practices and put people ahead of profits.

For more discussion about U.S. trade relations, play the video below.

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Other Articles of Interest:

Made in China: San Francisco Bridge Fails to Meet Expectations

Not an American Company Anymore

Gun Battle over the Truth

How Crazy is That? Laws & Lunacy

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