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Here Come The Trade Wars: Europe Imposes Duties On China Solar-Panels

Tyler Durden's picture


Recent price action amid the heavily shorted solar stocks has seemingly been predicated on hope that late May chatter of negotiated settlements in the industry would occur and everyone could go happily about their business. While hope remains for a settlement - and tariffs have been delayed 2 months, as the WSJ reports - the EU is set to announce drastic anti-dumping levies on Chinese solar panels in a move that could trigger a trade war between two of the world's largest economies:


Sadly this is playing out very similarly to the Great Depression period as tariffs and protectionism replaced domestic focused fiscal and monetary policy and escalated problems rapidly. China rejects the EU's price-dumping allegations, but the problem is not new for Beijing. The U.S. last year imposed punitive tariffs on solar panel imports after finding that China's government was subsidizing companies that were flooding the U.S. market.


Via AP:

The European Union is set to announce anti-dumping levies on Chinese solar panels, an official said Tuesday, in a move that could trigger a trade war between two of the world's largest economies.


China is the world's largest producer of solar panels and is accused by the EU of selling them below cost to corner the market. Its exports to Europe totaled 21 billion euros ($27.5 billion) in 2011.




The trade row between the EU and China, the world's number one and number three economies, is the biggest anti-dumping case in history by sales volume, according to the EU official.




Still, several EU nations, including heavyweight Germany, have spoken out against imposing special duties and urged the Commission to reach a settlement with China.




China rejects the EU's price-dumping allegations, but the problem is not new for Beijing. The U.S. last year imposed punitive tariffs on solar panel imports after finding that China's government was subsidizing companies that were flooding the U.S. market.


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Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:51 | 3623286 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Hi Ho Silver, bitchez!

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:00 | 3623312 Rory_Breaker
Rory_Breaker's picture

Great. Now when do we start with the shooting wars? Just get this over with quickly so that we can increase chocolate rations.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:07 | 3623334 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

Solar panels are a good investment. In my opinion the government should be offering grants to green startups, especially innovative businesses getting involved in the wind and biofuel industries.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:11 | 3623354 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

My bus (the Q67) rolls passed the Tesla shop in LIC every morning, you would never think it was multi-billion dollar company.  Tyler, I'll try to send pictures!!!

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:20 | 3623580 Pinto Currency
Pinto Currency's picture


One way to try to limit silver demand.

At least the Chinese aren't dumping opium in Europe.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:37 | 3623632 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

They aren't?  What makes you so sure? Just because there aren't "dens of savages" in tent cities in Prague doesn't mean opium derivatives are not flooding pharma markets.  Opium is to pain killing as crude oil is to plastics.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 12:28 | 3623763 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

carbon tax, meet anti-carbon tax

"we want to encourage use of renewable energy technologies, and we will do that by discouraging imports of them"

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:48 | 3623937 Pinto Currency
Pinto Currency's picture


Opium production up strongly in Afghanistan with protection from US military:


In 2007 Afghan opium production 2.5x the 2000 production level and up even more now.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 14:56 | 3624224 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

So, we war in Iraq and China gets the oil, we war in Afghanistan and China gets the __________ ?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:14 | 3623366 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

MDB weighing in with the fucktard point of view

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:34 | 3623432 AssFire
AssFire's picture

MDB is Leo.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:50 | 3623477 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Fuck you. I never signed on to let Uncle Sam give my shit to anyone or make high-risk loans in a rigged market of greedy, incompetent 'green' CEO's and their cronies/henchmen.  You can all screw off and die...

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:57 | 3623494 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

So..., you're saying you disapprove of government funding...?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:29 | 3623608 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Correct, I disapprove of funding any Government...especially ours! ;)

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:15 | 3623919 11b40
11b40's picture

Might as well disapprove of air & water.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:41 | 3623642 JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

Cheif problem with solar is that to make real money you have to have access to the power grid 'back bone' and the local/regional power companies wont let you have direct access unless you sign a an agreement that essentially gives them all rights to any renewable energy credits and pays you only average flat wholesale prices for the power.

In other words, you cant play if your not  in the club and the people in the club couldnt care less about solar power.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 12:59 | 3623855 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

While what Jim says is true (in spades where I live - feed in tarriff is 1/7th what they charge for the same kwh) - it's not the only game in town.  I'm simply off grid.  I don't "make money" but I don't hae a bill either - so it amounts to the same thing, at least on a single-family scale - it's freedom from having to make that money, some requirements for building permits and so forth - it pays back nicely.  I have just one bill - phone/internet, and of course the usual car insurance and PP taxes.  That's it.  It's nice.

As to whether China is or isn't dumping, couldn't say - all my panels are American made.  The off-brand cheapies I've tried were worth less than I paid for them (and failed quite young), and I learned quick to go for quality, not price, as the *value* is higher with the good stuff.  Some of the panels in my system are over 30 years old - and still pushing out the power, made by, who'da guessed it - BP solar, yeah, that oil company.  They quit making them awhile back due to no profit, but they were about the best out there of the established brands.  Which I guess is why the profit was low.

Stupid newcomers to solar and other alt energy concentrate far too much on initial price, since no matter how cheap the panels, it's a heck of an investment up-front.  They get screwed over that - it's better to pay ~20% more and get panels that meet spec, last for decades and so on, than to pay less and have them all start failing after 1-2 seasons.  Seems people would rather get ripped off "renting" infrastructure from the power companies than put money down up-front...we see that in almost everything - or there wouldn't be any debt problems.

China did put one hell of a lot of investment into solar and other alt energy, I can see them wanting to get something back out of it.  We didn't - we put money into things like Solyndra, which any engineer, scientist, or even qualified tech would have told them was stupid and not going anywhere.

Germany has made some good stuff at reasonable prices, and yes, subsidized, though I don't know how much.  When BP left the market, I went to their Schott panels, and they are good.

Solyndra was a shit idea, solving a problem that wasn't the problem from the get-go, and it was obvious to anyone who'd been using solar for awhile.  It wasn't about green energy, it was about green money.

While I'm in general against tech subsidies - the reality is they happen, we pay, and you might as well get any benefit that happens as a result, it's the suckers who don't out of emotion.  I think subsidies ought to be restricted to things no one else would do, long term things, basic research that has shown over the centuries to turn out being worth it - just not in "this quarter".  Solar was already going great guns long before any of this - I started out going off grid in '80 for example, and the stuff was there for me to do it - it wasn't a case of "it can't be done without the .gov involved" at all, never was. 

The tech wasn't the problem - the problem was too many people too stupid to invest in their own freedom.  They didn't have the cash upfront since they never had any cash, living in debt from other purchases they thought they needed to make to "keep up with the joneses".  A subsidy won't solve stupid.

Now, my Volt is all charged up again - and I can drive it 40 or 50 miles without putting in a nickel more.  Doesn't that count as "making money"?  I know I had to reduce my cash draw for gasoline for my fleet, as my wallet suddenly got too fat to sit on...looks like income to me, on a relative, cost-avoided basis.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 15:21 | 3624304 mkkby
mkkby's picture

Charging the Volt from solar panels probably takes a week or more, depending on the weather.  Then you get to drive it for an hour... Yippeee! 

"Renting" from the grid as you call it costs nothing expect your energy usage.  Charging the Volt takes less than an hour and costs pennies.  Wow, what a shrewd guy you are.  You get to brag about how tech savvy you are.  I guess it's worth $50k to do that.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:18 | 3623572 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

When are the Euro bitchez, going to stop playing the bitch of the unholy triumvirate of Barry, Benny & the Bankstas and accept their destiny?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:51 | 3623287 Mr. Fix
Mr. Fix's picture

This is just a prelude to a massive rate hike at the electrical utilities.

 They are leaving no way out.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:03 | 3623320 oddjob
oddjob's picture

The thought of citizens having their own power source is downright scary for statists.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:07 | 3623329 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

You solar guys are SILLY.  There is not enough cheap silver (or any reflective/conductive raw material) to make it viable due to cost. 

BTW, Jack Lew just said that GE Capital is a systemic risk.  That's only half a trillion in microfibrous credit assets worldwide.  It will only hurt a little </s>

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:23 | 3623405 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

systemic risk or systematicaly important? Big distinction even though it's the same thing. They said Prudential was too. That just means we get to bail them out,

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:37 | 3623428 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

I read "systemic threat", which I interpreted as "systemic risk", which should damn well be "important".  Yes, they are calling out the next bail out targets. 

Per Wikipedia (which means it can't be wrong lmao):

"GE Capital is the financial services unit of General Electric, one of five major units.[1]

Its various divisions include GE Aviation Services, GE Real Estate, GE Energy Financial Services, GE Money, and GE Commercial Distribution Finance.

GE Capital provides commercial lending and leasing, as well as a range of financial services for health care, media, communications, entertainment, consumers, real estate, and aviation. GE Capital focuses primarily on loans and leases that it underwrites to hold on its own balance sheet rather than on generating fees by originating loans and leases, then selling them to third parties. Most of GE Capital's commercial loans are to small and mid-sized companies, spread across multiple industries and geographies and secured by tangible assets. More than 70% of GE Capital’s loans are under $100 million. GE Capital's consumer lending activities are also diversified by product and geography, and include operations in 55 countries.[2]

As of Q3 2009, GE Capital had 60,000+ employees worldwide, operating in more than 55 countries, with total assets of $551B. It was rated AA+ with stable outlook by S&P."

A half a trillion of bailout to a major credit turbocharger for small to mid sized companies. 

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:42 | 3623450 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

It's confusing to me as to why they would bail them out. That's no fun, They gotta let one go so everyone can run into the arms of government backed annuities.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:49 | 3623469 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

And if they bail them out, that's what would happen in essence.  The end consumer of GE Capital's product - credit - would see no difference however it would not be a self-regenerating pool of capital that they would be drawing from, as a successful banking-lending institution should have, it would be a reservoir filled by the Federal bailout pipeline.  So, your Banana Republic credit card that gets you 15% off your linen pants for walks on the beach will be capitalized indirectly by Uncle Sam. 

BTW- I'm just laying this all out there not to explain it to you per se but to rationalize it for myself and the group ... so if I sound like I'm talking from a pulpit, I don't mean to.  I appreciate the interest in the topic as I am hijacking the thread somewhat on a callout.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:46 | 3624038 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

No sweat, thanks, I am running around and just checked in and found the comments interesting.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:05 | 3623886 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

I refute you thus:

Silver used for interconnects in panels is quite cheap as part of the total cost.  It's the glass and frame that actually cost the most, along with the tech to keep it all hermetic though decades of temp cycling and nasty bad weather.  Silver is at most a few grams per 250 watt panel, and there are plenty of replacements possible.  It's just that silver doesn't work-harden as fast in temp cycling, and is *cheap* on this scale, so that's what they use.  If it goes up, OFHC copper can work fine.  Reflective has nothing whatever to do with the use of silver in panels - it's the internal wires, not the active thing at all.

Won't be that long before they use graphene, which is far superior to silver for this anyway.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 14:09 | 3624096 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

+1 Thanks, I was waiting for someone more technically aware than myself to call me out on the reflectivity quip. That said, you are severly underestimating just what kind of market shock a mass conversion to solar would necessitate.  THIS RATIONALE THAT FOLLOWS DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE COST OF BATTERIES WHICH WOULD BE NEEDED EN MASSE AS AN ANCILLARY COST TO SOLAR.  YOU DO REALIZE THAT NO SUN = NO SOLAR, NIGHT = NO SUN, HENCE NIGHT = NO SOLAR SO YOU NEED A BATTERY or ALTERNATIVE POWER SOURCE. 

So let's say, for closing the calculation, 5 grams of AG per 250 watts.  250 watts of dispersed solar collection units, on individual building roofs, and not in mass reflector sites, which may benefit from scale by combining material usage.

New York City peak historical daily demand was 33,035 megawatts or 33,035,000 kilowatts or 33,035,000,000 watts.

At 1 gram per 50 watts, you would need 660,700,000 grams or 660,700 kilograms of silver to manufacture enough panels to generate enough electricity to handle peak usage.  Double that for a cloudy day when solar is 50% less efficient, that becomes 1.3 MM kilograms or 1,321 metric tons of silver.  Add another 40% loss for winter/summer peak difference (daylight hours, solstice vs. solstice), the need is now 1,849,960 kilograms or 1,850 metric tons of silver. Add in the power loss which is sucked up by battery plates storing charge (YOU DO REALIZE THAT NO SUN = NO SOLAR, NIGHT = NO SUN, HENCE NIGHT = NO SOLAR SO YOU NEED A BATTERY IF YOU DISCLUDE ALTERNATIVE POWER SOURCES TO THE ALTERNATIVE), which we may peg at 60% (50% daylight offset plus 10% arbitrary optimum loss while charging).  You now need about 3,000 metric tons of silver to build out enough solar panels to keep NYC online 24/7 in peak demand.  This doesn't include any losses to discharge batteries in the hot sultry July nights when all those co-ops need cooling or else become multi-rack cookie ovens. 

That's about 14% - 15% of a given annual production of silver, to set up NYC - one single city of what, 8MM people, mind you - to operate 100% solar.   If you don't think that would be staggering for a market to absorb, you are dead wrong.






Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:09 | 3623340 i-dog
i-dog's picture

True ... so they'll soon start taxing you on square footage of solar panels (captured and calculated by Google Earth).

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:15 | 3623367 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

Exactly. Many many years ago I worked on a co-generation system using a diesel running on heating oil to provide domestic hot water and heating along with some electrical power. I thought we would all have these extremely efficient systems in our homes by 25 years ago. As you can see we're still dependent on big energy companies and thus big government central planning.   This is also why hydrogen or super efficient fuel cell powered cars will never make it cause they would de-centralize the control of energy.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:42 | 3623453 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Totem engines or tiny cogeneration units are tremendously efficient.  The only issue has been durability.  If you could build small engines that would run 100,000 hours without maintenance then they would take over the world.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:13 | 3623913 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Hit the nail on the head, man - it's a fight for central/statist control, not really about the rest.  But for now, you can win that one, or I have been since about 1980.  You just have to take the initiative and do it yourself.

Funny, after a major hurricane here, we had a visit from the rented out of state guys who came in to help our power company restore things.  They looked at my lashup (which wasn't super great then) and laughed - "you can't run a house off this" - but I pointed out I had been for about a decade already.

Then I started a solar sales-install business.  Despite the scorn from power co employees, we caught them numerous times tearing down and defacing our advertising flyers....they felt very threatened.  I gave that one up - one of the few startups I've done that failed.  The real problem was stupid people - not willing to pay upfront, and would rather pay ruinous rates to rent infrastructure from the power co's, since monthly, it looks easier.  Heck, it is easier if you can't wait out the payback time.  But not cheaper if you can - and this was true even when PV panels were $6/watt, instead of the $1/watt they are now.  For one thing, they aren't the only cost - charge controllers, racks, inverters, batteries, labor to install - swamp the panel cost in a lot of cases or are at least comparable.

There are a lot more off-grid people out here in the US than most think.  It's just that most of them are not the type to advertise it much - they tend to prepper opsec...but it's a lot more than you'd think who are totally off grid and off the radar for now - till like someone said, they start trying to tax the sun and find you via google earth or something.  I'm not worried yet - it didn't work out that well for the Greeks when they looked for tax evaders with pools etc from space.  The earth is large...and most of us are in places of very low population density, the ones that don't count with the .gov because there just aren't many voters/taxpayers per sq mile "out here".


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 15:20 | 3624301 11b40
11b40's picture

In the 70's, Solar was all the rage, and so was insulation and anything else that could save energy costs.

There were some major tax incentives passed after the OPEC oild embargo in the mid 70's, and a multitude of independent start-up companies were sprouting up all over the place - selling & installing solar, insulating houses and businesses, developing new products and tecniques.  Ceiling fan and wood burning stove sales took off.  A new industry was busy being born...and it was an equal opportunity for anyone who wanted to jump in - 100% domestic, too. And it was very good for the homeowners who took advantage and upgraded to effecient heating/coolinmg syustems, retrofitted windows, installed insulation, and yes, added solar hot water heaters, too.

It took Raygun about 15 minutes to dismantle all of it at the behest of his sponsor - General Electric - when he was elected in 1980.  Had we slapped a big domestic tax on OPEC (Saudi) oil when they drove the price down, and kept going at it on the conservation side of the equation 30 years ago, just think how far along we would be today.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:21 | 3623586 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"The thought of citizens having their own power source is downright scary for statists."

This is one of those topics that causes black and white thinkers to go into a feedback loop.  Let's say the people decided to pool their resources and develop cheap solar panels and employ them on homes in places like FL.  This would give individuals their own power source, freeing them from the monopoly of government power supply.  But it would take collective action to accomplish and make it affordable to the average person.   So it must be bad, but it would be good.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:17 | 3623926 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

It's already happening and I know quite a number of people doing it.  We don't have to develop our own panels - they are cheap already and work fine.  At ~$1/watt, they aren't even the main cost of a system anymore.  It's all the other stuff.

And quite a large fraction of these people also drive things like Nissan leaf or Chevy Volt and run that off their systems...dropping gasoline costs, which helps pay back the initial costs of a system a LOT faster than it used to, since it replaces yet another bill...and dependency on the state systems you normally would have to pay for.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:12 | 3623360 Edward Fiatski
Edward Fiatski's picture

Just ponder on the meaning of the word - "Duty".

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:53 | 3623665 pods
pods's picture

You and me both brother.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 15:31 | 3624335 11b40
11b40's picture

Yes, and tell us who did the new NC Republican Governor work for?

Why, I belive it was Duke.  Yes, yes it was.  He worked for Duke for 28 years, retiring in 2007.  He also served on the Homeland Security Council Advisory Commission from 2002-2006.  While working for Duke Energy, he also served as Mayor of Charlotte, and on the City Council for several terms prior.  He's been a Duke Energy political insider for almost 2 decades.  Didn't take long for them to get that rate increase, did it?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:55 | 3623295 Mr. Magoo
Mr. Magoo's picture

The green economy is a metaphor for massive money printing

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:19 | 3623383 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

It's just warm and fuzzy feel good bullcrap to get Gen-X and Y to lower their expectations of consumption cause the elite know full well the resources and jobs are running out for them.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:56 | 3623298 markar
markar's picture

So the Germans objected but it passed anyway?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:02 | 3623317 SpanishGoop
SpanishGoop's picture

End of the EU as we know and started to love it.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:12 | 3623357 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Yep ... it's called an 'EU Consensus'!

Cue Ghordius to explain, in flowery language, with reference to the letter of various treaties, how Brussels had no say....

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:25 | 3623958 Craxi
Craxi's picture

I always thought the EU would blow up, not because of PIGS, but because Chinese/German interests would converge. Here we have the evidence.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:58 | 3623302 PiltdownMan
PiltdownMan's picture

We never learn. Trade wars, tariffs, etc result in global economies seizing up.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:44 | 3623459 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

People forget.  The modern trade wars originated with Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.  They are mercantilist and will not change.  The West needs to slowly shut them out of the trading community until they come around to fair play.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:10 | 3623549 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

piltdownman, please educate yourself..tariffs do nothing but provide consumers higher incomes if used correctly which then creates demand for products..that they result in wars is an excuse for the nwo elites to make us all serfs on their capital plantation..try a little creative thinking, not repeating what you were told in school. eyes wide shut syndrome.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 15:42 | 3624371 11b40
11b40's picture

BINGO!  Tarriffs = common sense.  So you lock your doors at night?  Close the door on your garage?  The gate on your fence?  Lock your car at the mall?

Then, you must be a protectionist.  Why so many have bought this multi-national free trade horseshit for so long boggles my mind, as our jobs drift off to be taken by mercantilist countries for the profit of the multi-nationals.  Meanwhile, our tax base erodes and our infrastructure crumbles around us as we rapidly become a 3rd world country.  Fly into JFK from most large International cities, and it makes you want to cry.

Flame on all you free trade fools, but Ross Perot was right when he said "That giant sucking sound youhear will be our jobs going off shore" after NAFTA passed.  The evidence that he was right is everywhere.  Just look around.

This is only the beginning of the trade wars, which should have started about 25 years ago.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:58 | 3623306 pods
pods's picture

If anyone is under the impression that China is friendly they are delusional.

They will rip off all IP, make cheap ass copies with slave labor, then flood a market to bankrupt you.

Fuck China.

If this gets me banned, so be it.  


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:03 | 3623321 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Hear hear, pods.  About time; we need more countries putting tariffs on China.

Fuck China, fuck NeoLiberalism, and fuck Communism.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:10 | 3623349 widget
widget's picture

China is out to get you.

How hard can it be to simply not buy the "cheap ass copies"? You are doing it to yourselves. Greed will consume you as you consume ("cheap ass copies").

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:18 | 3623379 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

It's not that simple.  The flood of cheap goods has eliminated much of the competition, which is what monopoly power predator entities do.   Want to buy an iGadget?  They are all made in China.  Computer?  China (some are assembled in the U.S., but all the parts are made in China).  And so forth.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:26 | 3623411 widget
widget's picture

Why would cheap goods eliminate the competition if nobody would buy the cheap goods?

And no, I dont want to buy an iGadget, because they are made by foxconn and for several other reasons.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:35 | 3623437 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

You can argue with reality, but it is right there to look at.  Already happening whether we like it or not.  

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:19 | 3623934 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Yup.  Tarrifs etc can't fix stupid.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:33 | 3623616 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

And how could we get along without those tasty battered & fried calimari rings made from sliced Chinese pig rectums? I know I couldn't make it through another day without my faux-squid fix. Please pass the Melamine sauce.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:38 | 3623633 Matt
Matt's picture

Partially, it is because China is the only country willing to risk contaminating the drinking water with toxins and radiation in order to extract rare earths, so they have a (in my opinion) deserved virtual monopoly on rare earths.

If others want to compete, they need to either take the risk of irradiating themselves, or develop alternatives to rare earths.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:20 | 3623942 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Or, find a use for the Thorium they're (almost) always mixed with...not trivial, but not impossible either.  Mostly a regulatory problem.

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 09:09 | 3625907 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Or Korea......Samsung basically gets free labor from those near the DMZ

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:18 | 3623381 pods
pods's picture

It really is pretty easy. I mean, for example, when I am installing a new RO pump in my system I usually overlook the big old "Made in USA" on the housing and open it up to find the cheap ass Chinese made brushes that wear out prematurely due to shitty ass magnets and craftmanship, then reassemble, return, and start again.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:30 | 3623425 widget
widget's picture

Most retail stores in the US offers refunds. But point taken. It can be difficult, but in no means impossible.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:26 | 3623400 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Someone in another country who is eager to work for less than your demanded "minimum wage" ("required" to keep you in a manner to which you'd like to become accustomed) is NOT "slave labour" ... it's called labour arbitrage and is a fundamental function of FREE ENTERPRISE.

The solution is to move forward with CAPITAL investment into automated manufacturing and entrepreneurial niche markets at home ... NOT to turn the clock back to Americans sewing shirts and hand-assembling cars and solar panels. Oh, and get govenment out of the food chain....

Fuck it, Pods, you usually make sense!! Did someone steal your login?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:57 | 3623498 pods
pods's picture

No, it is not free enterprise. It is a trade war tactic when you have two trading partners and they play by different rules.

China has ZERO regard to labor, ZERO regards to the environment, and ZERO regard for intellectual property.  The chinese steal anything not bolted down. They have the best reverse engineers, because that is how they make their living.  People will shit a brick because I said "environment," and I will no doubt be called a lefty, but a LOT of our food is coming from China now.  It is no longer just them being killed.  

I know exactly why the US government does it. To hide rampant inflation and a declining standard of account (the FRN).  It started with the MFN treaty, and that passed because the Chinese suplus was recycled back into treasuries.

And no, I do not want to go back to manual labor here. I want our government to think about the people who birthed it first and foremost, not the bankers who have a claim on its bankruptcy.

If the clear goal of a "trading partner" is to steal all IP, make cheap ass clones and destroy your entire structural base of the economy, they are not a partner.

They are an enemy.



Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:33 | 3623595 i-dog
i-dog's picture

You make Hitlery look positively Ghandian! Pods for Secretary of War!

"steal all IP, make cheap ass clones and destroy your entire structural base of the economy"

1. "IP" is a statist construct to protect non-innovators. It has no place in a free market. Protect your own IP by innovation, rather than using the guns of the state to protect your IP over, for example, human genomes and plant varieties.

2. "Cheap ass clones" are no longer cheap when they have to be shipped across the waves to compete with efficiently automated manufacturers at home (those who haven't been taxed out of the market). Global wage arbitrage is only effective when tax rates on corporations at home drive them offshore.

3. The Chinese didn't destroy America's structural base ... corporate taxation and government interference in capital allocation did. Before China, the 'Asian Tigers' were doing the manufacturing of CONSUMER GOODS. Before the Asian Tigers, it was Japan. Before Japan, it was the US. Before the US, it was Europe. Yet, Germany is still competitive today ... through product design, quality control, automated manufacturing, and innovation in its areas of competence.

Stop whingeing and start competing. But first, get the Federal Goverment out of the way ... it is an unnecessary and very expensive extra level of government that only serves globalists and imperial military expansion.

SECEDE NOW ... or forever be a debt serf (or cannon fodder)!

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:34 | 3623617 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

How much intellectual property can you have if you take the position Intellectual Property is a statist construct?  Human genomes and plants are outlier examples (allbethem problematic) within a much larger framework.  Intellectual Property is an innovators' construct that has been corrupted by big business and their pet politicians their paid lobbyists purchase.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:43 | 3623647 Matt
Matt's picture


Patenting things you did not create is total BS for sure.

On the other hand, if someone invests the resources into developing something, they absolutely should get a head start on making the thing, in order to recoup the investment, otherwise innovation will die. The patent system is a major factor in the success of America as an innovator. 

The IP system needs an overhaul, but it is necessary to drive innovation. Unless we are going to rely on everything being crowd-funded and open source.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:56 | 3623668 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

We just let the lobbyists have a go at overhaul and they invented "first to file" which made everything worse, except their future revenue stream from legal billings.

I thing plowing under the GMO labyrinth they have created might be a simpler solution.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:39 | 3623638 lix333
lix333's picture

You guys crack me up.


1. China is excersizing FREE trade. Something America instilled in the rest of the world since the mid 1900s. We can't turn our back on it now even if we tried. Or America would look like the communist/socialist.

2. All the high end products AND low end products are made in China. They are made their because we can't do better. Thats fact. We tried and our factories failed. When was the last time America made a real product. Something that would be considered at a level as high as China. Its funny that some of you think that when America was producing products that magically (ignoring history) our products were of the high grade.

3. I agree with the intelectial propeties. That will never change. China doesn't trust itself.  They are now in a stage of copying copys making the low end products even lower.

4. Unions and minimum wage although ethically a standard in this country is killing our work force. If we were to enforce our policies on China then Manufacturing would move to India and then on to another country.

5. We should look at ourselves first and find a way to improve manufactring here at home rather then cry like babies because other countrieS are doing it better, faster, cheaper.



Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:51 | 3623658 Matt
Matt's picture

1. No, China targets a currency exchange ratio that gives it an unfair advantage. If I artificially make my dollar worth 1/4 of yours when they should be 1:1, I am taking advantage. That is absolutely not free trade, it is a subsidy to exporters and a tarrif on imports.

2. No, it is because they have no concerns for safety or health, plus a monopoly on rare earths.

3. There must be some sort of punitive charge on rip-offs to protect innovators, or innovation will dry up.

4. If other places in the world, where people like to live packed together like rats in cages, want to work for insanely low wages, tarrifs should be used to protect domestic labor. 

5. Soon, nearly all of labor in manufacturing will be replaced with robots, so it will not matter where the factories are, other than from a taxation standpoint. Where that leaves workers, I do not know. 

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 12:00 | 3623680 lix333
lix333's picture

1. Stop making excuses. The ratio has nothing to do with trade. Their products are more expensive there then over here. and if you learned a thing about Macro econimics free trade is =. The money comes back to us via assests. They didn't create the system, we did. They are just beating us at our own game.

2. Foxcon is country club compared to what we have here and they only have a monopoly on rare earth materials because WE have decided not to mine them here just like other comodities. If you haven't noticed we are great at making other countries mine and damage thier parts of the world for our usage.

3. Yeah, like I said I agree.

4. this point was a spoled American view of life. Live in a metal shack with shaky electricty and one intenet cable to your village and let me know if you still feel the same way.


Thu, 06/06/2013 - 00:29 | 3628730 Matt
Matt's picture

What do you mean exchange rates have no impact on trade If I can sell something for half as much as you can, simply because my currency is manipulated to be worth less, that is a subsidy to me.

". this point was a spoled American view of life. Live in a metal shack with shaky electricty and one intenet cable to your village and let me know if you still feel the same way."

I don't want to live in a shack, I want tarrifs to protect my wages so I don't have to downgrade to a shack to compete with all the shack-dwellers.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:50 | 3623659 JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

Cost of labor is a smallfraction of final retail price, most of which comes at the retailer.

The PTB can make shit in this country just as cheaply as overseas with only minimal increase in final production costs that they could trim out of the retail markup.

Whatever. This country has lost all sense of who it is and what interests it needs to protect. We  have laborers, engineers, political back benchmen, church members, etc all arguing against thier own interests because they have read a bunch of mind rotting bullshit out of the main stream press or Faux news.

Guess its time for a civilization reboot.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:58 | 3623307 Old Pecksniff
Old Pecksniff's picture

The tariffs are long overdue.  Most things from China are cheap crap or chock full of poisonous substances.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:12 | 3623358 widget
widget's picture

Then don't but it. If I recollect it does say "Made in China" somewhere on it. Put it down - walk away.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 09:59 | 3623308 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

Europe is fucking with the wrong people


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:08 | 3623342 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

+1.  They don't care, they have lots of cheese and wine to fire up their factory furnaces with.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:01 | 3623314 widget
widget's picture

The west: supressing silver price but still cannot manufacture solar panels at a profit.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:06 | 3623328 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

It's called capital and resource mis-allocation and mal-investment.  Lot's of useless fucks at the top and bottom squeezing the productive folks in the middle.  Will end as it always does, world war.  Hedge accordingly.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:12 | 3623361 TrustWho
TrustWho's picture

Exactly how do you hedge your 14 - 20 year old son's life from the military to use as a cog in the machine of death?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:35 | 3623621 dognamedabu
dognamedabu's picture

Dual citizenship?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:11 | 3623345 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

Actually the price suppression is why they cannot make solar panels at a profit. 

If solar panel makers got ten percent of the subsidies received by the petroleum and nuclear industries, you'd use solar panels as a cheap substitute for bricks and not bother to hook up the wires. 

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:16 | 3623373 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

If if if if if if..........

The subsidies are de facto easy credit terms because petroleum turns over so quickly from one hand to the other (implying a high frequency of money exchanging), and thus requires heavily-lubricated financing.  This is the fluid core of industry and the flow must not stop.  Solar is NOT that.  You do not understand the fluid characteristics of financing energy and its fundamental importance to industry. 

Show me a solar baron who will change this.  Who is the solar baron?  It would be the man with the most silver.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 16:49 | 3624544 11b40
11b40's picture

You forgot to mention nuclear.

Without huge .gov subsidies, there would not be a single nuclear plant on earth.  Who/what would take on such risk and liability?

So, we have untold bilions for nuclear, which may already be bringing earth as we know it to an end (see Japan), but let's not dare subsidize the one source of virtually free energy for eternity that is available to us.

Yep....I guess that makes about as much sense as most of what I see happening around me.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:20 | 3623387 widget
widget's picture

Subsidies a.k.a. the government is the problem from begin with. Are you saying that government supressed petroleum/nuclear prices too much and silver too little? How about we get rid of government and let the free market rule.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:16 | 3623568 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

It was sort-of tangential to suppressed silver. Between the suppressed solar panel prices, and the rising cost of energy and materials (ex silver), the makers of quality panels cannot survive. 

Anyhow, silver is not that big a component in the price of solar, and can probably be substituted with some other material. 

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:11 | 3623351 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

The last thing (well one of them anyway) TPTB want is cheap alternative energy sources for the average man.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:14 | 3623563 pods
pods's picture

Reminds me of the purported statement of Morgan to Tesla when talking about his way of energy transmission:

"Where do you put the meter?"


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 14:14 | 3624105 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

It ain' the issue.  The few grams of silver in a 250w panel don't have dick to do with what it costs to make.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:03 | 3623322 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

The EU should probably inspect 'em too. I've seen reports that Chinese panels are shoddy and short lived. 

(and probably made of melamine)

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:06 | 3623330 Watson
Watson's picture

It is particularly a shame because of the product subject to tariffs: solar power might be full of dodgy companies and financing, but strong sunlight really does fall for long periods onto southern Europe (and the southern US).

That is a lot of clean energy, potentially, and if you get the conversion process cheap enough it could you actually _want_ the panels to fall in price...

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:17 | 3623376 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

How long before the anti-solar tards respond.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:07 | 3623337 They trynna cat...
They trynna catch me ridin dirty's picture

Trade and currency wars were the first things Lindsey Williams said to look out for, followed by a crack in the derivatives market. After that look for the Fed's announcement that it's going to tighten, and you'll know the end has come.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 16:36 | 3624525 matrix2012
matrix2012's picture

Lindsey Williams: Whenever there comes a crack in the derivative market, you will know that the collapse in the financial market is ready to take place.

How can an average person know when a crack comes in the derivative market? There are four items that when you see them take place, you will know the collapse is occurring.

FIRST, there will be currency wars.

SECOND, there will be trade wars.

THIRD, there will be an abandonment of the SWIFT system for monetary transfers.

And the LAST SIGN to determine the crack in the derivative markets, and the initiation of the economic collapse will be when the Federal Reserve begins to raise interest rates.
Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:13 | 3623362 smacker
smacker's picture


Does this solar panel trade war policy take priority over the EU's obsession with climate change and the urgent measures they advocate to minimise CO2 pollution?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:20 | 3623388 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Laughable. Europe and the USA already lost the trade wars bitchez.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:26 | 3623415 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

I'd say. A $315 billion trade deficit is pretty hard to overlook........

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:58 | 3623502 Gavrikon
Gavrikon's picture

Lost?  How about surrendered?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:23 | 3623404 Confundido
Confundido's picture

So much fur die Umweltschutz...

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:29 | 3623420 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Finally some common sense. Take that Chinese hazardous waste from wherever it is down to the closest hazardous dump. And don't ever let a middle man con you into allowing it into your nation. Hang the middle men traitors.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:07 | 3623424 kragsquest
kragsquest's picture

It's about time that the "dumping" of their sweatshop produced, pollution-causing, stuff gets hits with tariffs!  "Free trade" produced junk makes for cheap people and those investors who have been making big $$$ trading in this crap need to be taxed much higher!

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 10:57 | 3623497 Gavrikon
Gavrikon's picture

Were it not for NAFTA, GATT and the whole raft of free trade agreements that were struck that enabled the corporatists of the world to offshore their production and to import ever more cheap labor from third world countries, the US would not be in the mess it is.

Don't be so quick to put down the idea of tariffs and to misrepresent the role they played (almost none) during the depression of the thirties. 

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:10 | 3623545 kragsquest
kragsquest's picture

This is all quite true; Buchanan is right on this one, Ron Paul and the libertarian free traders are dead wrong.  Taxes should reflect moral principles, not political opportunism.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:13 | 3623558 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

gavrikon +1000, good on you.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:06 | 3623535 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Globalism is all about national leaders and illuminati competing to enslave their citizens to enrich themselves.  It has nothing to do with free trade. Free trade doesn't require "trade agreements" it only requires two people exchanging goods and services.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:07 | 3623539 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Some of you fucktards still don't understand how international trade works.

Even if one were to concede that Chinese manufactured goods are junk, who cares? That might be why the price is lower. Because it's junk. There's a price premium for quality and if it turns out that people still are willing to pay less for junk, then guess who made that decision. The consumer.

Some of you want to treat everything produced in china the same. As if a consumable good is the same as a capital good. A solar panel is thing called a capital good. You don't put one on your roof because it looks cool. You put one on your roof to lower your operating costs. If some country wants to trade you refined manufactured (capital intensive to acquire raw materials and build the production facilities) for fiat funny money, let them. Guess who the loser is on this deal. Not the person giving up the imaginary 1s and 0s.

And then idiocy of "cornering the market". A solar panel is not an ongoing transaction. It's not a customer relationship or supply contract. It's a one and done deal. You don't corner anything. You don't have a real market share of anything at this point. So once the "dump" or "flood" your market, wait, develop the R&D and sell the next generation product that drives them out. But no. We can't have that. Mostly because these solar firms are all owned by political elites and they have to protect their markets while simultaneously forcing the public utilities to purchase their products.

The solar panel tarrifs are one of the biggest indictments against this "green" save the earth bullshit. The hypocracy knows no bounds from the political elite. It's not enough that you have to buy these things, you have to buy it from them.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:58 | 3623602 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Regulation is a softer edged sword than tariffs, but just as deadly.  Too bad the Eurotrash elite are so inbred that they no longer can remember that, since it dovetails beautify with their fecal fetish for fecund federal regulation.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 17:09 | 3624585 11b40
11b40's picture

Some of us fucktards have a different perspective.

Some of us fucktards are tired of seeing or jobs outsourced and the whole country's tax base eroded while monopolistic multi-nationals buy off politicians and worship at the alter of free trade.  

Some of us are sick of trying to compete against foreign products subsidized by parasitic mercantilist "trading partners".  Some of us see the big picture and realize who the winners are, and it is not your average American citizen.  Far from it.  We are the ones being fleeced.

To use the solar panel example, trading fiat dollars for a Chinese solar panel is not the same as manufacturing one here.  You still end up with a solar panel, and even if the quality is equal, we are much beter off if the capital investment is here, not China.  The factory jobs and the taxes have a huge multiplier effect as those dollars are recycled through our communities.  Our pople have those JOBS.  Everything improves with high rates of employment.  The costs of high rates of unemployment are staggering -- both economic and social.


Wed, 06/05/2013 - 07:30 | 3625658 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

11b40, were are the political parties that would expose this rape of american industry? D or R not hardly.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:26 | 3623600 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

My main concern is not if the Chinese are dumping solar at way below cost if we at the other end are reaping big benefits in terms of lower electricity charges. My main concern is whether the Chinese panels are totally up to scratch and won't n fact break down or lose performance output much sooner than promised.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:42 | 3623645 digalert
digalert's picture

What does Gerald Celente always say?

Crash, depression, currency wars . . . trade wars and then real wars. That’s what we’re seeing again.”

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:48 | 3623653 wallstreetapost...
wallstreetaposteriori's picture

Does this even matter in Europe.  The only countries that use solar are the southern periphery countires, which last time I checked had the highest unemployment, insolvent banking systems with increasing NPLs, and dysfunctional governements. Yeah solar demand must be really high.  

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:57 | 3623671 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

to make it as simple as possible for you free trade shills: America puts a tariff on all manufactured goods, a co wants to make x fine if you can do it off shore and pay a tariff and still have American's buy it, if not, Hire Americans and build it here..not so hard is it?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 12:27 | 3623756 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

China doesn't make money manufacturing solar panels. They subsidise them with State credits

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 14:15 | 3624110 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

"The U.S. last year imposed punitive tariffs on solar panel imports after finding that China's government was subsidizing companies that were flooding the U.S. market."


But it's ok to abuse the advantage of holding the world's reserve currency and then, um, flood the market, is it?

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 15:23 | 3624311 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

I guess Obama didn't subsidise Solyndra or these other failed 'Green' companies because a subsidy would imply a product was actually being put on the market.

Trade wars have a nasty habit of of escalating and becoming shooting wars, which also tend to escalate as well.

This is one of those stones and sins stories that make everyone look like hypocrites and I think Germany was smart enough to pass it on and wash their hands wisely knowing that Brussels will never turn down an opportunity to do something stupid.


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