US tariffs on imports of Chinese-made solar cells for electricity could put American jobs at risk and discourage investment by China, the mayor of a small Arizona city told federal regulators on Wednesday in support of a Phoenix business group's complaint.
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council, or GPEC, which represents about 160 companies, filed a letter of protest with the US Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission in July over the duties on Chinese-made photovoltaic cells and modules.
More than 9,000 jobs in Arizona are related to renewable-energy companies and utility-scale power projects.
The state was ranked third in the US for installed solar capacity by the Department of Energy.
On Wednesday, Mayor Georgia Lord of Goodyear, Arizona, who is a member of the GPEC board, was the elected public office-holder at the hearing.
"Many of Goodyear's economic development efforts center on solar or foreign direct investment," she testified. "As a small city located in a foreign-trade zone, we want more Suntechs — not less."
China-based Suntech Power Holdings Co, the world's biggest maker of solar panels by output, has a manufacturing plant in Goodyear, a city of fewer than 70,000 people. The plant employs more than 100 engineers and technicians.
According to GPEC, Suntech each month produces 15,000 solar panels, which are used in providing electricity to about 10,000 American homes per year.