CASM: Chinese solar imports to US fall "sharply"

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The coalition says the level of solar cells and modules coming from China into the U.S. fell for the second month in a row, thus reflecting the impact of the preliminary ruling issued by the DOC on May 17.

Citing the DOC’s import data, CASM says imports dropped from US$206 million this March and $196 million last April, to just $70.7 million this April. It added that cells accounted for just $632,000 of the $70.7 million total, meaning modules comprised the lion’s share of imports in the month. "These significant declines reflect the market’s recognition of the costs, risks and uncertainties associated with importing Chinese solar," stated the coalition.

Despite the declines, CASM says that imports are still on the up, compared to the same period last year: "For the first four months of this year, the total value of Chinese cell and panel imports reached $1.1 billion, up from $767 million for the same period of 2011."

Countering the Chinese decline, CASM said that imports from other countries have notably increased. "These countries include Malaysia ($85.4 million, up 342 percent), Taiwan ($43.8 million, up 417 percent) and the Philippines ($42.3 million, up 471 percent)," continued the coalition.

It added, "Because these countries possess some legitimate solar production – including thin-film products, which are not subject to duties – they are attractive targets for illegal duty-evasion schemes. Given the risk that these countries will be used as conduits for transshipment and other forms of illegal duty evasion, CBP, which handles civil enforcement, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles criminal enforcement issues, are taking action to ensure that Chinese companies do not attempt to circumvent duties owed on their products."

EU trade case

Speculation is rife that a European trade case will be announced today at the first day of Intersolar Europe in Munich. Reporting from the event, pv magazine editor, Jonathan Gifford said that there is quite a lot of action at the SolarWorld booth and many are anticipating an announcement this afternoon.

The strategy would follow SolarWorld’s previous announcement of the U.S.-China trade case, the news of which first broke at last year’s Solar Power International tradeshow.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the course of the day.