The US International Trade Commission has approved the investigation requested by the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) into unfair trading practices on the part of Chinese c-Si cell and module manufacturers. The trade panel today approved the investigation, which could lead to the introduction of US trade duties.
The decision – a unanimous vote of 6–0 in favour of the investigation – decrees that there is reason to believe that SolarWorld and its six (as yet unnamed) co-members of CASM – and US manufacturers and industry in general – have been harmed or stand to be harmed directly by the imports of Chinese-made cells and modules into the US.
The ITC has published its response on its website, and reads as follows:
“USITC VOTES TO CONTINUE CASE ON CRYSTALLINE SILICON PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS AND MODULES FROM CHINA”
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that there is a reasonable indication that a US industry is materially injured by reason of imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.
All six Commissioners voted in the affirmative.
As a result of the Commission's affirmative determination, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to conduct its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of these products from China, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about January 12, 2012, and its preliminary antidumping duty determination due on or about March 22, 2012.
The Commission's public report Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells and Modules from China (Investigation Nos. 701-TA-481 and 731-TA-1190 (Preliminary), USITC Publication 4295, December 2011) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the investigation.”
The vote will give the go-ahead to the US Commerce Department to proceed with the full-scale investigation into the allegations made by the SolarWorld-led CASM.
Senior executives from 14 major Chinese PV manufacturers gathered this week to set out a coordinated plan of defence in response to the prospect of countervailing duties.