In the latest move in the trade battle that the US is waging with Chinese over imports of cheap solar panels, import levies of up to 250% have been slapped onto solar energy products from the country.
The Department of Commerce is accusing Chinese companies of “dumping” crystalline silicon photovoltaic solar cells and panels onto the US market at below fair prices. It believes that Chinese companies are also receiving government subsidies to support low prices.
According to the Department’s calculations, Chinese producers are selling solar cells to the US market at 18% to nearly 250% below fair value and benefiting from government subsidies of around 15-16%.
Solar imports from Chinese companies will now be subject to individual anti-dumping duties and ‘countervailing’ or anti-subsidy duties, calculated according to level of government subsidy.
Suntech, for example, will be subject to anti-dumping duties of 31.73% and countervailing duties of 14.78%, while Trina Solar faces duties of 18.32% and 15.97% respectively.
But in a loophole, solar modules produced in China but containing solar cells made elsewhere are not subject to the new duties.
The proposed duties, which will now be subject to a final decision by the International Trade Commission next month, are lower than outlined in the previous preliminary decision.
The US currently imports around $3.1 billion of solar cells and panels from China, including some products not covered by the new duties.
Reputedly, the Department of Commerce is now looking at imports of wind turbines and towers from China as well.
For further information:
Europe leads the world in solar panel installations (25-Sept)
World’s largest solar project in Arizona leads US solar charge (11-Sept)
US jacks up import tariffs on Chinese solar panels (18-May)
US government imposes import levy on Chinese solar panels (22-Mar)
12 October 2012