US Department of Commerce releases countervailing determination of lower-than-expected subsidies

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

The US Department of Commerce has released its preliminary determination on countervailing imports of silicon PV modules from China. The DoC states Chinese producers and exporters received a subsidy ranging between 2.9-4.73%. Many analysts had expected subsidies in the range of 20-30%. As the top two exporters/producers, Suntech and Trina Solar were singled out, with Suntech having received 2.9% and Trina 4.73%; all other Chinese companies received 3.61%.

In response, Suntech issued the following statement: “Unilateral trade barriers, large or small, will further delay our transition away from fossil fuels at a time when the majority of Americans demand cleaner and more secure energy such as solar,” said Andrew Beebe, Suntech’s chief commercial officer. “Regardless whether tariffs are imposed on solar cells from China, we can provide our customers in the US with hundreds of megawatts of high-quality and affordable solar products that are not subject to tariffs.”

Trina Solar issued a more subdued statement: “This determination is only the first step and is subject to further examination and final determination later this year. Until then, Trina and the solar industry will continue to operate in an era of uncertainty brought upon by these proceedings. Until the final determinations are made, it is premature to speculate about next steps in the United States, but know that Trina Solar is committed to serving the United States’ market for the long term.”

Initiated by SolarWorld last year, president Gordon Brinser had the following to say, “The US government has recognized that China’s subsidies destroy the solar market and jeopardize jobs. The provisional anti-subsidy customs duties imposed now are a first step towards re-establishing fair competition in the United States.”

The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy – set up in opposition to the SolarWorld-led organization Coalition for American Solar Manufacturers – echoed Suntech’s sentiments: “Today’s preliminary determination is a relatively positive outcome for the US solar industry and its 100,000 employees. However, tariffs large or small will hurt American jobs and prolong our world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Fortunately, this decision will not significantly raise solar prices in the United States as SolarWorld sought,” said Jigar Shah, president of CASE.

“This decision clearly demonstrates that the Commerce Department did not find the Chinese government engaged in massive subsidization, as SolarWorld and CASM claim,” he continued. “There is more work to be done to protect the future of solar industry and power in America. A recent study by the Brattle Group confirmed that placing artificially high tariffs on solar panels would severely undermine the US solar industry, resulting in the loss of up to 60,000 US jobs by 2014.”

Yingli Green Energy passionately stands by its previous testimony to the International Trade Commission; Robert Petrina, managing director of Yingli Americas said, “We will continue to fight for affordable solar energy and further growth of the tens of thousands of US solar jobs that we help to create. Regardless of the outcome of this proceeding, we remain dedicated to the US solar market.”

Q-Cells’ North America CEO Boris Schubert stated, “To build 21st century energy infrastructure in a complex market like the United States, our industry needs to stay focussed on providing reliable, predictable and sustainable energy solutions for utilities and other customers.”

The view from China remains amicable, maintains Liu Baocheng, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. “I don’t think China will retaliate,” Baocheng said. “They won’t politicize this issue. They’ll probably play this down as a technical issue.”

The China Voice wrote a scathing article in response to the outcome of the preliminary hearing: “The U.S. should gradually learn to adapt to a marketplace in which emerging countries are playing more active roles by sharpening its own capabilities in innovation and lowering costs, and not resorting to protectionist moves to shun obligations.

“When conducting subsidy and dumping probes, the US government should make decisions based on facts. Punitive duties, big or small, will distort normal trade relations and risk disturbing the fragile global economic recovery process.

“Good trade will serve as a ballast stone, not a stumbling block, for the economic vessel to navigate choppy waters. In a time of crisis, the US government should keep that in mind.”

Trade group SEMI maintains a level head in a statement: “While SEMI is not a party to these specific cases, we continue to urge that they proceed on a factual basis and not become politicized. SEMI urges US and Chinese leaders to begin a dialogue that goes beyond the narrow confines of the current antidumping/countervailing duty cases and addresses the range of issues impacting solar PV. SEMI calls on trade negotiators around the world to work together on measures that would eliminate trade and investment barriers to solar energy.”

The DoC has instructed US Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits or bonds for products imported into the US in the last 90 days prior to this announcement.

Timeline

May 17     Department of Commerce’s preliminary determination for anti-dumping investigation
June         Department of Commerce’s final determination for countervailing
July 19     The International Trade Commission will announce its final determination

9 December 2021
The Smart Energy Council is hosting Australia’s second Virtual Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition on Thursday, 9 December 2021. This event will show that the industry powers on despite COVID-19 and we are standing together undeterred in spirit. Bringing our global community together using the latest technology.
13 January 2022
Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America “Come Together” for the first time in Long Beach, CA—connecting installers, developers, utilities, technology providers, policy makers, and key stakeholders from around the world to advance the clean energy future. With best-in-class conference programming, integrated exhibits and pavilions, and the live Solar Games installer competition, #isnaesna21 will showcase the industry trends, innovative solutions, and emerging talent transforming the solar, energy storage, and e-mobility markets. Register today to redeem our exclusive offer for PV Tech readers—free expo hall or 20% off full conference pass.
1 February 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.

Read Next

December 7, 2021
Solar developer ib vogt has signed a €40 million (US$45 million) syndicated loan agreement with its long-standing German bank partner Commerzbank AG to support its international growth strategy
December 7, 2021
The US and China will account for a combined 57% of total forecasted solar capacity additions through 2030, with the countries adding 151.3GW and 436.9GW of solar capacity, respectively. Both countries have risks to this development, however, with the US needing to overcome trade and tariff problems, while China needs to ensure the reliability of PV production
December 7, 2021
Tesla is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) following a claim that the company did not appropriately inform its shareholders and the public about potential fire risks from its solar systems, according to a report by Reuters.
December 7, 2021
JinkoSolar is forecasting that more than 25% of its module shipments next year will be attributable to its n-type TOPCon module range.
PV Tech Premium
December 7, 2021
PV Tech Premium speaks to Dany Qian, vice president at JinkoSolar, to get the inside story about the ‘Solar Module Super League’ member’s 16GW n-type expansion and plans to take the lead in TOPCon.
PV Tech Premium
December 6, 2021
PV Tech Premium breaks down the key schemes and incentives that exist for companies that want to invest in India's growing solar market

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 1, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal