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Chinese polysilicon firms allegedly seek trade remedies

Chinese polysilicon firms have reportedly filed a trade complaint with the Ministry of Commerce, seeking duties on U.S. imports.

Bloomberg reports that GCL-Poly Energy Holdings and Dago New Energy Corp, two of China’s biggest suppliers of polysilicon, joined other producers in presenting formal complaints against U.S. polysilicon imports.

Polysilicon is a key component of solar panels. Import tariffs on U.S. polysilicon may put Chinese polysilicon producers at an advantage.

But according to reports, the Ministry of Commerce has yet to take the step necessary for any formal trade sanctions to proceed – that is, the Ministry has yet to accept the case.

“China’s Ministry of Commerce will consider Sino-U.S. trade to determine whether to accept the complaints,” Gao Hongling, deputy secretary-general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance, told Bloomberg.

A GCL-Poly facility. Credit: GCL-Poly Energy Holdings

Nevertheless, stock prices for the largest polysilicon suppliers – from both the U.S. and China – fell as these reports spread.

This news comes on the back of the U.S. Commerce Department’s preliminary rulings to apply anti-dumping tariffs and countervailing duties to Chinese imports of PV solar cells.

But, as opponents of thse proposed import tariffs have already noted, duties on PV panel components will benefit some and harm others within both the U.S. and Chinese markets. In the first few months of this year, over 40 percent of China’s polysilicon was imported from the U.S.

For many Chinese PV panel manufacturers, buying domestically-sourced polysilicon is more expensive than importing the base product.

“While Chinese silicon manufacturers may be keen for tariffs on silicon imports from the U.S., the vast majority of Chinese solar companies buy silicon and so will be fiercely opposed to any measure that increases the price,” said Jenny Chase of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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