Washington, D.C., October 12, 2012 – In a move that could have international implications for the global soar energy market, the U.S. Department of Commerce ruled on trade tariffs for Chinese solar photovoltaic manufacturers.
U.S.-based PV manufacturers initiated the case against what they called “dumping,” or flooding the American market with artificially cheap Chinese solar energy products that undercut American manufacturers.
The other side, which included upstream and downstream players, like solar equipment manufacturers, silicon suppliers and installers, opposed the tariffs.
China-based Suntech Power was given a tariff of 31.73 percent, and the Changzhou-based Trina Solar Energy received a tariff of 18.32 percent.
The DOC anti-dumping duties were higher and ranged from 18.32 percent on Trina Solar to 249.96 percent on Chinese manufacturers that did not participate in the negotiations, the numbers were equal to or lower than the preliminary tariffs imposed in May.
The anti-subsidy duties were increased from the original determination ranged from a range of 2.59 percent for Suntech to 4.73 percent for Trina Solar, to a range of 14.78 percent for Suntech, to 15.97 percent for Trina Solar.
In response, China’s Ministry of Commerce on condemned the decision to slap duties on billions of dollars worth of Chinese solar energy products, saying the step “signals protectionism” and “hinders the development of new energy.”
U.S. imports of solar cells from China were valued at an estimated $3.1 billion in 2011, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The U.S. International Trade Commission, or the ITC, is scheduled to make its final decision by November 23.
If the ITC affirms that these products cause material injury or threats to U.S. industry, the country’s Commerce Department will issue an anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty orders. If the ITC concludes there is no threat, the investigation will end.
The tariffs ruling on China was brought on by SolarWorld Industries America Inc, the US subsidiary of a Germany-based producer of photovoltaic cells and modules. Last October, SolarWorld filed a complaint to the Commerce Department, claiming that Chinese manufacturers were able to sell their goods cheaply using subsidies from their government.
SolarWorld and other firms supported the determinations, but criticized the DOC for not going farther, since the determination only covered PV cells produced or assembled into panels in China. It does not cover panels made from cells produced in third countries, which include cells made in the U.S.