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U.S. to impose sizable tariffs on Chinese solar cells

Yesterday, the Department of Commerce issued a preliminary ruling to levy tariffs of between 31 and 250 percent on Chinese solar imports.

Commerce concluded that Chinese firms illegally dumped PV cells on the U.S. market at “less than fair value” in an attempt to increase market share.

Over 60 firms from China will face a 31 percent import duty for products entering the U.S., a retroactive tariff that will cover shipments made as far back as February 2012. Other Chinese exporters will face a tariff of 250 percent. The tariffs apply specifically to Chinese solar cells — regardless of where the panel is assembled.

In March, Commerce suggested duties of 2.9 to 4.7 percent for Chinese PV imports as a result of a ruling on claims of illegal subsidies to Chinese firms.

A cell sorting machine at a Trina Solar facility. Credit: Trina Solar.

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturers, the group leading the charge for anti-dumping and illegal subsidy tariffs, was pleased with the result.

“The verdict is in,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld. “In addition to its preliminary finding that Chinese solar companies were on the receiving end of at least 10 WTO-illegal subsidies, Commerce has now confirmed that Chinese manufacturers are guilty of illegally dumping solar cells and panels in the U.S. market. We appreciate the Commerce staff’s hard work on this matter.”

While this decision is seen as a win for domestic PV manufacturers, there are other players in the U.S. solar market who are disappointed with the decision.

“CASE recognizes that today’s decision is ‘preliminary.’  Between now and a final decision before the end of the year, there are many issues that will be addressed and whose resolution would lead to a significantly lower tariff,” said Jigar Shah, President of The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE).

“CASE will continue to fight SolarWorld’s anti-consumer and anti-jobs efforts to ensure a better result for America’s solar industry.”

The Department of Commerce is scheduled to make a final decision in October and the International Trade Commission will make a final determination in November 2012.


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