SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean conglomerate SK Group’s North American division SKC has made public its stance in support of the U.S. government’s trade ban on imported solar energy batteries, including those from South Korea.
SKC, despite being a division of a South Korean company, called for measures against importing solar energy batteries at a public hearing on trade which was held earlier this month, citing falling sales experienced by American solar energy battery makers in recent years, according to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) and SKC on Sunday.
The ITC allows private enterprises and government officials to take part in hearings as witnesses to discuss trade issues from the perspective of insiders, as part of the organization’s inquiry process.
This year, calls for a safeguard – a measure used in trade to protect homemade products in a particular industry against exports – were notable.
As well as giving testimony at the public hearing in support of safeguard measures against imported solar energy batteries from countries like South Korea, China and Malaysia, the American division of the South Korean conglomerate also issued a statement in which it said, “Although we don’t produce solar energy batteries, the issue causes a conflict of interest in the solar panel battery and module industry.”
According to the written statement, SKC Inc., which produces PET film in the state of Georgia, first ventured into the industry in 2010 with the expectation of future growth in the market for EVA sheets, a film used to protect solar energy batteries that works as an adhesive within modules.
Suniva and SolarWorld, which SKC supplies EVA sheets to, have also called on the ITC to implement safeguard measures to protect American products against imports. Both companies experienced a significant drop in sales last year, from 21.6 million dollars in 2015 to 18.5 million in 2016.
The underperformance of both companies had a devastating impact on SKC, which was forced to stop operating its EVA factory in May this year.
SKC said, “If the American solar energy battery industry doesn’t recover, our $1 billion investment in EVA factories will go to waste.
“The bankruptcy of companies like Suniva means staff cuts and job losses to suppliers like us.”
Amid the growing anti-export sentiment in the solar energy battery industry, South Korean trade authorities and energy companies are closely following the ITC’s next move, while arguing against a safeguard against South Korean batteries, which many say would have a devastating impact on business.