US slaps trade duties up to 165% on Chinese solar firms

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The US Department of Commerce has made its final ruling in the China solar trade case, levying trade duty rates of up to 165% on some firms.

PV Tech understands that the following rates have been announced as part of the department's decision: 

Trina faces anti-dumping (AD) tariffs of 26.71% and anti-subsidy rates of 49.79%. Yingli faces 52.13% AD rate and the China wide anti-subsidy of 38.72%. The AD rate for companies not assigned an individual level of tariff will be 165.04%.

Taiwanese producers have been given an AD rate of 19.5% with the exceptions of Motech and Gintech who were assigned 11.45% and 27.55% respectively.

The wider scope for the case has also been adopted.

All eyes now turn to 20 January when the US International Trade Commission will decide if the industry suffered injury as a result of the actions of the Chinese firms. Without a positive decision, the new duties cannot be applied.

“These remedies come just in time to enable the domestic industry to return to conditions of fair trade,” said Mukesh Dulani, US president of SolarWorld. “The tariffs and scope set the stage for companies to create new jobs and build or expand factories on US soil,” he added.

Rhone Resch, CEO of the US Solar Energy Industries Association pledged to continue looking for a compromise deal.

“Unfortunately, today’s ill-advised and unprecedented decision will harm many and benefit few. We remain steadfast in our opposition because of the adverse impact punitive tariffs will have on the future progress of America’s solar energy industry. It’s time to end this costly dispute, and we’ll continue to do our part to help find a win-win solution.”

Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, added that the ruling would have a negative effect on solar jobs within the US.

“Today’s decision by the US Department of Commerce to further tax solar panels from China, even those with key components made in the US, will undercut the growth of American solar jobs, hurt the American solar industry and make it more difficult for solar technology to compete against fossil fuels. These unnecessary taxes inhibit competition and put upward pressure on solar panel prices needed by US homeowners, installers, and utilities.Taxing solar trade undermines both the spirit and efficacy of pledges made by the US and China to work together in the battle against global warming. Hundreds of megawatts of solar projects remain unrealized due to deleterious solar trade barriers in the US, China, Europe and globally. Eliminating taxes in cleantech trade represents the lowest-hanging fruit in the global fight against climate change.”

Shah added: “After three years of unproductive trade wars, which have proliferated around the world, we urge the US and China to accelerate negotiations to preserve competition in the global solar industry. Affordable solar panels are a good thing for the US, China, and the world. As the world’s largest producers and consumers of energy, the US and China share a unique responsibility to lead constructive and productive trade relations in the global solar industry. We look forward to continued progress in the weeks ahead.”

US and Chinese trade officials are currently meeting in Chicago for an annual high-level conference.

Speaking to the press about the talks on Friday, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said: “We hope to continue to work with China on both the solar and the polysilicon issue to create a stable environment in which, our trade laws are being enforced, secondly that we are able to see the further deployment of clean technology to fight climate change, and thirdly, that we’re able to maintain world-class industries in both our countries to manufacture these important products.”

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