US adds further heavy duties to solar panels made in China; Taiwan hit hard

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The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has announced preliminary antidumping duties of up to 165% on panels partially manufactured in China.

The complaint, filed by SolarWorld America, sought to stop Chinese manufacturers from avoiding duties by using cells manufactured overseas, particularly in Taiwan.

Taiwanese cell manufacturers Gintech will face 27.59%, Motech 44.18% and the rest of Taiwan 35.89% under the latest duties. Full details of the duties are available on the Department of Commerce website.

The final determination of the duties is scheduled for early 2015.

“We and our workers are gratified to hear that the US government once again has moved to block foreign government interference in our economy and clear the way for the domestic production industry to be able to compete on a level playing field,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America. “We should not have to compete with dumped imports or the Chinese government. Today’s actions should help the US solar manufacturing industry to expand and innovate.”

The charges are in addition to preliminary anti-subsidy rates as high as 35% that were applied to modules made by Chinese manufacturers that used certain key components produced outside mainland China.

Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), which opposes tariffs, urged both sides to find a settlement. “We urge SolarWorld AG to work with the US solar industry and choose to end their continued litigation in favour of a win-win solution like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) settlement proposal. CASE members, which represent the industry majority, demand a solution that ends uncertainty in the marketplace by preventing further trade litigation and that allows solar power to compete cost-effectively with traditional energy sources, thus enabling the market’s further growth. To aid in this process, we ask President Obama to make resolving the solar trade dispute a priority on his clean energy agenda and convene the parties for negotiations.

“Today’s determination is another unnecessary obstacle for the US solar industry that will hinder the deployment of clean energy by raising the prices of solar products. Due to these tariffs, previously viable projects will go unbuilt, American workers will go unhired and consumers that could have saved money through solar energy may not be able to benefit,” aded Shah.  

“CASE members are particularly disappointed that SolarWorld’s request to expand the scope of products affected by the solar dispute remains under consideration by the Department of Commerce. Accepting a broader scope would disregard decades of legal precedent that define scope using the ‘single country of origin’ and ‘substantial transformation’ trade rules. The proposed new scope is also fundamentally inconsistent with the Department’s own previous determination in the 2012 solar cell dispute,” concluded Shah. 

Previous trade duties announced in 2012 will continue to apply on panels manufactured entirely in China.

A report by Taiwan-based analyst EnergyTrend earlier this week claimed that a combination of aggressive shipping to the US by manufacturers earlier this year and domestic US PV manufacturing, would ensure that the US was able to meet expected demand of 6GW in 2014.
 

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