As I was looking at the stories crossing the wires a few minutes ago, two in particular grabbed my attention. The first was a story about a report that the state-owned China Development Bank is planning to continue its support for Chinese solar panel manufacturers:
China Development Bank Corp. plans to renew a pledge of support for 12 solar companies, an indication the government is pressing for consolidation within the industry that’s suffering from excess capacity.
And the second story was SolarWorld filing yet another unfair trade complaint in Europe against Chinese solar panel manufacturers on the grounds that they are receiving illegal government subsidies:
EU ProSun, an industry group led by Germany’s SolarWorld, filed an anti-subsidy complaint today at the European Commission in Brussels, Milan Nitzschke, the group’s president, said in an interview. EU ProSun says that Chinese exporters of solar panels benefit from trade-distorting government aid.
After reading the second story two thoughts popped into my little brain. The first is what moral right does Europe or the United States for that matter have to tell the Chinese government how they can spend their money?
If the Chinese want to give their solar panel manufacturers a helping hand how is that any different from the US government bailing out Bank of America or General Motors? And how is that any different from all of the support Airbus has received over the years from European governments?
The second thought that occurred to me is why isn’t SolarWorld up in arms about the $197 million in US government support for a competing solar panel manufacturing facility that will be opening up this week a short drive down the road from SolarWorld’s US taxpayer subsidized manufacturing plant in Oregon?
Or are subsidies only unfair and illegal if a Chinese guy is signing the check?