top of page

Commerce to investigate claims against Chinese solar imports

The U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed yesterday that it will investigate claims of unfair trade practices by Chinese solar firms.

The November 10 announcement comes after a group of U.S. solar firms, the Coalition for Solar Manufacturers (CASM), filed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy petitions in late October.

CASM is comprised of seven firms, led by SolarWorld, a company based in Germany. The group claims illegal subsidies and tax credits have allowed Chinese firms to dump below-cost solar panels onto the U.S. market, and demands countervailing duties of 100 percent.

The allegations have elicited criticism from Chinese government and industry stakeholders as well as U.S. solar industry players. Just a few days ago, 25 U.S. solar firms established the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) to explicitly combat SolarWorld’s actions.

An October press conference at SolarWorld's facility in Hillsboro, OR. Photo Credit: Sustainable Business Oregon

Despite these calls against the CASM petitions, the Department of Commerce has decided that the claims warrant further investigation. The panel of civil servants will issue a preliminary decision on the anti-dumping petition by late March, and on the anti-subsidy petition by late May.

China has lost most similar claims filed against it, and is expected to lose these cases too. The result is likely to be tariffs on imports of solar panels, which may be retroactive.

According to Xinhua, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said that Chinese people and firms are dissatisfied at “U.S. attempts to blame Chinese exports for the country’s sluggish development.”

Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America, was pleased with the Department’s ruling. “The anti-competitive tactics of Chinese exporters have threatened to wipe out U.S. producers and jobs,” he said.

“Domestic producers look forward to returning to steady increases in efficiency and sustainable decreases in pricing that directly result from legal international competition — and to advances in America’s renewable-energy future.”

The Commerce investigation depends on the ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which is also looking into the claims. The ITC must decide by December 5 that the Chinese subsidies harm U.S. firms, otherwise Commerce will drop the investigation.


bottom of page