China concludes US solar subsidies violate WTO rules

22. August 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Beetz

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has concluded that 6 renewable energy subsidies in the U.S. violate provisions made under the WTO Subsidy and Countervailing Measures Agreement and the Article 3 of 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. It is now seeking to have them cancelled.

US China flags

The bickering between the US and China continues.

Following the launch of the U.S.-China trade case by SolarWorld in the U.S. last October, MOFCOM launched its own trade barrier investigation in November into 6 of the U.S.’ support polices and subsidy programs. It has since concluded that this support constitutes "prohibited subsidies" as stated under provisions in the Article 3 of WTO Subsidy and Countervailing Measures Agreement and the Article 3 of 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

"As a consequence," stated MOFCOM on its website, they "distort the normal trade and constitutes the trade barrier to the Chinese renewable energy products exports to the U.S." The ministry added that it will now take "relevant measures in accordance with the law to require the U.S. to cancel the content of the measures under investigation inconsistent with WTO agreements, and give fair treatment to renewable energy products exported from China."

The programs in question include:

  • The encouragement of renewable energy projects in Washington;
  • The State Solar Rebate Project II in Massachusetts;
  • The encouragement of wind production and manufacturing in Ohio;
  • The encouragement of renewable energy projects and manufacturing in New Jersey; and
  • Self-generating projects in California.

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Andrew Hill from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, 22.08.2012 18:28

i do not believe the PRC will have much luck with this. The situation is similar to that which exists here in Ontario, Canada. The WTO agreements are signed at a Federal/National Government level, the individual states are not signatoies to such agreements. This is the same reason that the German & Japanese WTO case against Canada over the Ontario Provincial Feed-in-Tariff content rules will not be successful....Ontario as a province is not subject or part-and-parcel to the International agreements signed by the Federal Government of Canada; just as individual U.S. state governments are not.
Good luck with that anyway...the international opinion is that the PRC got off lightly with only being hit by the USA with a tariff on cells; it could have been on completed modules aswell, which would have negated 'back-door"-ing cells from Korea/Malaysia/Taiwan to meet US CVD & ADT regulations!!!!

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