Washington: In a new show of anger at China's allegedly unfair trade practices, a major US maker of solar cells and panels announced on Wednesday it was filing a formal trade complaint targeting Beijing.
The action by SolarWorld Industries America, a subsidiary of Germany-based SolarWorld AG, came as US lawmakers who blame China's rise for lost American jobs have stepped up calls for Washington to confront Beijing.
The firm's President, Gordon Brinser, accused China of having "illegally subsidised" solar cells and panels, dumping them onto the US market "at artificially low prices" that threaten to "decimate" US competitors.
"We cannot allow China to throw its government resources around in violation of international law. Its actions are illegal and must be stopped," Brinser said in a statement that noted the investigation and response could take one year.
SolarWorld, which calls itself the largest US solar manufacturer, said it was asking the US government to impose retaliatory duties on imports of certain Chinese solar cells and panels.
The company had previously accused China of improperly subsidising its solar sector as part of a no-holds-barred commercial battle for supremacy over an industry experts estimate to be worth trillions of dollars in the future.
The move was sure to draw an angry response from China, where officials have condemned US Congress assaults on Beijing's trade practices as an effort to distract from their incompetence in fixing the battered US economy.
Beijing last year provided more than USD 30 billion in help to its largest solar manufacturers, roughly 20 times more than Washington's investment over the same time period, a top US Energy Department official told lawmakers last month.
"This is just what they have announced. China has undoubtedly extended support well beyond what they have disclosed publicly," Jonathan Silver, Head of the department's
loan programs office, testified to a House committee.