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U.s. - Solar Panel Maker Moves Work To China

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/business/energy-environment/15solar.html?_r=1&ref=business

Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.

But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China.

The factory closing in Devens, Mass., which Evergreen announced earlier this week, has set off political recriminations and finger-pointing in Massachusetts. And it comes just as President Hu Jintao of China is scheduled for a state visit next week to Washington, where the agenda is likely to include tensions between the United States and China over trade and energy policy.

The Obama administration has been investigating whether China has violated the free trade rules of the World Trade Organization with its extensive subsidies to the manufacturers of solar panels and other clean energy products.

While a few types of government subsidies are permitted under international trade agreements, they are not supposed to give special advantages to exports — something that China’s critics accuse it of doing. The Chinese government has strongly denied that any of its clean energy policies have violated W.T.O. rules.

Nice to see capitalism working well, they simply move to the country with the greatest amount of subsidy. And I'm sure that the Chinese won't steal the technology.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/business/energy-environment/15solar.html?_r=1&ref=business

Nice to see capitalism working well, they simply move to the country with the greatest amount of subsidy. And I'm sure that the Chinese won't steal the technology.

True, but don't pretend that low wages has nothing to do with the issue either.

Edited by Laughing Gnome

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/business/energy-environment/15solar.html?_r=1&ref=business

Nice to see capitalism working well, they simply move to the country with the greatest amount of subsidy. And I'm sure that the Chinese won't steal the technology.

China already leads the world on solar production.

Though to be fair, it's one of our remaining manufacturing capabilities here in the UK, too. It's just a reversal of traditional roles, with the UK producing the basic commodity stuff and China ahead on top-end innovation.

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Not pretending that isn't an issue, but if you have low wages plus govt subsidy it's an unbeatable combination.

How about import tarriffs against nations which carry no social costs and do not guarantee a basic standard of existence?

Edited by Laughing Gnome

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How about import tarriffs against nations which carry no social costs and do not guarantee a basic standard of existence?

It's not politically correct to have tarriffs anymore.

In the west anyway , it's all the rage in Asia.

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China certainly does lead in this product and have said that they are willing to take a hit to make sure that it stays that way.

I would say that you are wrong though as China is the major producers of the rare minerals required for the manufacture of the panels.

I'm not entirely up on who owns what mines where, but are you sure? Most components seem reasonably easy to source elsewhere:

Copper: Top manufacturers Chile / USA

Indium: Canada is a leading producer of indium. The Teck Cominco refinery in Trail, British Columbia, is the largest single source indium producer, with production of 32,500 kg in 2005, 41,800 kg in 2004 and 36,100 kg in 2003. South American Silver's Malku Khota property in Bolivia is the largest resource of indium with an indicated resource of 845,000 kg and inferred resource of 968,000 kg.Adex Mining Inc.’s Mount Pleasant Mine in New Brunswick, Canada, holds about 15 to 20% of the world’s total known indium resources

Galium: The only two economic sources for gallium are as byproduct of aluminium and zinc production, while the sphalerite for zinc production is the minor source. Most gallium is extracted from the crude aluminium hydroxide solution of the Bayer process for producing alumina and aluminium.

Selenium: Selenium is found in economic quantities in sulfide ores such as pyrite, partially replacing the sulfur in the ore matrix. Minerals that are selenide or selenate compounds are also known, but are rare. The chief commercial uses for selenium today are in glassmaking and in chemicals and pigments.

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China produces all but 3% of rare earths and recently decided to cut exports by 10%. What was the response of the West? I didn't see anything. The Chinese break all the rules, steal evertything, spend nothing on R&D if they can pinch it and keep their currency depressed. Add to that a few billion people just above the poverty line and you have the cheapest labour in the world. What's not to like if you are a pig in the globalisation trough?

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How about import tarriffs against nations which carry no social costs and do not guarantee a basic standard of existence?

Yep.

That's next. It's inevitable. Not least because the globalists/banksters insist it ain't possible.

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Remember, Competitive Advantage vis a vis geographical siting for industrial manufacturing includes a whole raft of metrics: not just labour, but taxes, property costs, local taxes and regulation costs.

Even if China and Mass. were identical in labour cost, there would be huge cost advantage in China on the others.

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Yep.

That's next. It's inevitable. Not least because the globalists/banksters insist it ain't possible.

I agree, we should be doing this NOW. And we did it until fairly recently. I can remember the EEC imposing tariffs in the 80's to the stop the dumping of Japanese marine engines in Europe which were destroying the indigenous industries.

Toyota and Nissan had to set up here, in order to access the European market, as did a number of Jap TV makers.

Now politicians don't seem to care

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How about import tarriffs against nations which carry no social costs and do not guarantee a basic standard of existence?

So nothing manufactured outside Europe then?

Japan/Korea/China/Taiwan/India/Africa manufacture stuff with barely any social costs.

When you think their lives are bad remember this, your typical migrant worker in China only puts 2-5 years working in these factories. In 5 years they usually have enough saved to build their own homes AND open businesses of their own. Compare our own wage slaves on NMW what have they got after 5 years?

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Many in the West remain brain-addled by globalisation and free trade. For so many, it can only be an unrelenting good, stemming from ideas contained in Adam Smith's 'The Wealth Of Nations'. Yet the modern World is vastly different

Japan paid demented Reagan cheap bribes via the lecture circuit to gain entry to the US car market. This was never reciprocated. This is not free trade even though numbnut western leaders think it is.

Many countries hold their currencies down, Japan via ZIRP'n carry-trade, to maintain a trade advantage. This is not free trade

Many Eastern countries have less onerous environmental and other regulations that companies based in the West must comply with. This is not free trade. If we are to get rid of our regulations, how far do we go? Will we legalise child labour?

The ideas spawned by Adam Smith are genius. But that was then and this is now. By blindly following the free trade mantra without looking closely at what our trade rivals are actually doing, our leaders have ushered in The Age Of Retard

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Many Eastern countries have less onerous environmental and other regulations that companies based in the West must comply with. This is not free trade. If we are to get rid of our regulations, how far do we go? Will we legalise child labour?

The ideas spawned by Adam Smith are genius. But that was then and this is now. By blindly following the free trade mantra without looking closely at what our trade rivals are actually doing, our leaders have ushered in The Age Of Retard

British people approve of child labour though, as long as it isn't their children. It is why primark and such like stay in business people completely approve of it and they show this by buying it.

I wouldn't say we had to go that far though. We just need to get rid of land controls and really trim the fat of the government. People will be tired of me saying this by Hong Kong manages to spend £21bn to look after 7 million people. While in the UK we spent 700bn looking after 60 million people. Multiply it and HK would spend £126bn. Enough to not have VAT or income taxes at all!

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How about import tarriffs against nations which carry no social costs and do not guarantee a basic standard of existence?

Do you think that the UK consumer could stand the immediate inflation that this would cause? Our cost base is so out of line (primarily because of shelter and business premises costs) that import tarrifs are not going to be enough to encourage import substitution unless they are massive (a multiple rather than a fraction of 100%).

Globalisation only works because consumers in previously wealthy nations are extremely price sensitive and couldn't care less about the standard of living or quality of life enjoyed by those who make the things that they consume.

This is not a policy problem. It is a human nature / greed problem.

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Globalisation only works because consumers in previously wealthy nations are extremely price sensitive and couldn't care less about the standard of living or quality of life enjoyed by those who make the things that they consume.

This is not a policy problem. It is a human nature / greed problem.

But greed is good- so the story goes. The truth is that the economy is being run on religious principles- the cult of the invisible hand is everywhere. It's ironic that the 'Washington Consensus'' was a faith based fanaticism every bit as close minded as the enemy it manufactured and then opposed, the Islamic extremists..

Until this cult and it's acolytes are booted out of power and thoroughly discredited the madness will continue.

It's kind of funny that the US right wing cast the accusation of 'traitor' at Julian Assange- who is not even a citizen- while their own corporations are exporting jobs and technology offshore to a superpower rival for short term profit.

Their thinking is so f*cked it's downright funny.

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I agree, we should be doing this NOW. And we did it until fairly recently. I can remember the EEC imposing tariffs in the 80's to the stop the dumping of Japanese marine engines in Europe which were destroying the indigenous industries.

Toyota and Nissan had to set up here, in order to access the European market, as did a number of Jap TV makers.

Now politicians don't seem to care

Not only that. We have protectionism AGAINST our own producers. Endless red tape and environmental regulations forcing British producers out of business, while at the same time we allow Chindian producers to make the same goods and sell them on British streets with no such costs.

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http://www.economist.com/node/17913534?story_id=17913534

With assets of 314 trillion won ($280 billion), NPS is by far the largest investor in the country’s domestic fixed-income and equities markets.

...

Plans to increase the retirement age beyond 60 will help.

It looks as if won't be that long before South Korea is in a position to compete with China in the bailout role.

In fact it's starting to look as if a lot of the developed world is getting to the stage where the word developed is a word used by the MSM only to mislead.

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But greed is good- so the story goes. The truth is that the economy is being run on religious principles- the cult of the invisible hand is everywhere. It's ironic that the 'Washington Consensus'' was a faith based fanaticism every bit as close minded as the enemy it manufactured and then opposed, the Islamic extremists..

Until this cult and it's acolytes are booted out of power and thoroughly discredited the madness will continue.

It's kind of funny that the US right wing cast the accusation of 'traitor' at Julian Assange- who is not even a citizen- while their own corporations are exporting jobs and technology offshore to a superpower rival for short term profit.

Their thinking is so f*cked it's downright funny.

If we all bought British goods at small, locally owned high street shops (which is what I do) instead of Chinese / Indian / Costa Rican etc goods at Tesco / Asda / Curries etc, globalisation would stop in an instant.

Consumers have the power to change the way that the world currently works. They are too self absorbed to do so.

In my opinion, you overestimate the power of the elites and underestimate the power of the individual.

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Not only that. We have protectionism AGAINST our own producers. Endless red tape and environmental regulations forcing British producers out of business, while at the same time we allow Chindian producers to make the same goods and sell them on British streets with no such costs.

I agree with this point of view.

We have built up a framework that is too luxurious realtive to our wealth at the expense of the truly productive elements of our society.

Every overpriced house, business premises, council worker, compliance cost, carbon tax etc is built into the cost of everything that we make.

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If we all bought British goods at small, locally owned high street shops (which is what I do) instead of Chinese / Indian / Costa Rican etc goods at Tesco / Asda / Curries etc, globalisation would stop in an instant.

Consumers have the power to change the way that the world currently works. They are too self absorbed to do so.

In my opinion, you overestimate the power of the elites and underestimate the power of the individual.

Except that not everybody can do that. When you see something for £5 and something made in the UK for £20 which one do many people choose? It is like lightbulbs incandesant and energy saving. Years ago when they were £6 and incandesant ones were 60p many people would go for the 60p one. It is all well and nice saying buy the UK made one but when you are on low pay the cheaper item makes your wage go further.

Though of course there are false economies! My Altberg boots which were made specifially for me have lasted 6 years. My bally suede boots from the end of the 1990s lasted me till 2006. They had plenty of wear left. They were destroyed in 2006 in a deep winter. They got wet and froze the ice tore them to heel to bits.

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I don't really see what the problem is. Seems perfectly acceptable for a US company to close down a chocolate factory in Bristol and move production to the US. So why moan when a US company shuts down a solar panel factory to move production to China?

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If we all bought British goods at small, locally owned high street shops (which is what I do) instead of Chinese / Indian / Costa Rican etc goods at Tesco / Asda / Curries etc, globalisation would stop in an instant.

Consumers have the power to change the way that the world currently works. They are too self absorbed to do so.

In my opinion, you overestimate the power of the elites and underestimate the power of the individual.

The problem is not that people will choose the lowest price, the problem is that globalists shaped their agreements around the needs of capital and investors, and failed to regulate the terms for labour and the environment- but this opportunity for arbitrage was, of course, one of the main attractions of globalisation to those shaping the agreements.

A system of tariffs should have been embedded that were in inverse relationship to the rates of pay, conditions and pollution issues to prevent exactly the kind of self defeating arbitrage we now have.

So as pay levels in the cheaper producing regions rose, for example, the tariff would fall- removing the incentive to race to the bottom.

But that would have prevented 'investors' from maximising their return- and we can't have that.

In the end it comes down to value systems- is' labour' a commodity to be driven ever downward in price if possible- or is it the source of human well being and social cohesion?

In their frantic pursuit of short term profits the globalists have perverted the notion of a world peacefully trading to the benefit of all.

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I don't really see what the problem is. Seems perfectly acceptable for a US company to close down a chocolate factory in Bristol and move production to the US. So why moan when a US company shuts down a solar panel factory to move production to China?

No problem if they intend to sell the products in China. But if they wish to sell the products in the US they are dipping into the well of local US demand without contributing to it, so should face import tariffs to level the field.

There is only so much demand to go around, based on wages paid out locally- so why should that company get a free ride in terms of tapping this demand if they pay no wages locally to sustain it?

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Its interesting that rare earth minerals are required for both of the major renewable energy power generation devices. When you think about it it is quite clever what the Chinese are doing. They are making solar panels at a small losses to ensure that manufacturers in the West cant survive. They are also keeping their resources and adding value to them in their own nation then selling them to the West.

Rare earths can be found in other places though. Other places just need to reopen the mines.

China tempted them to move to China because of lower costs and a devil may care attitude about pollution.

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  • 295 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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