Just over a year after it submitted its petition to the USITC, SolarWorld Industries America, Inc. is celebrating the news that antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duties will be applied to all crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, modules, laminates and panels coming into the U.S. from China as detailed in the table below. The USITC voted unanimously (6-0) in favor of the tariffs.
Less export subsidy
Regarding critical circumstances, the USITC voted three to two in favor of their dismissal from the case. As such, no retroactive AD and CV duty orders will be applied to goods that entered the U.S. before the date of publication in the Federal Register of the Department of Commerce's affirmative preliminary determinations.
According to the USITC, in 2011, a total of 14 crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell and module producers were located in the U.S., representing 1,856 workers. While they shipped a total of US$709.5 million modules last year, the U.S. "apparent" consumption totaled $3.01 billion.
Meanwhile, China was found to have imported 1.5 million kW of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules into the U.S. in 2011. Overall, the value of modules imported was said to total $1.9 billion.
Commenting on the final decision, president of CASE, Jigar Shah stated, "Now that both Commerce and the ITC have ruled, we will continue to encourage dialogue and negotiation between the U.S. and Chinese governments to seek a constructive resolution. Unilateral tariffs and a trade war in todays interconnected global marketplace are unnecessary and detrimental to effective and efficient business competition."
While SolarWorld applauded the move, it was still critical of Chinas solar industry practices. "In light of Chinas apparent determination to prop up its excessive production capacity at any cost, it [SolarWorld] would continue to pursue all relevant options to address Chinas improper trade practices."
Yingli Green Energy said it was glad to see the end of the U.S. trade investigations. However, Liangsheng Miao and CEO said he was "saddened to see the global ramifications of this case. We are in the midst of a global trade war now, and Europe will be defending itself vigorously in the footsteps of the U.S. decision."
In a scathing response, Suntech Americas MD, E.L. "Mick" McDaniel stated, "The continued growth of trade barriers represents a serious challenge to the U.S. solar industry, for American jobs, and for energy consumers globally. SolarWorld's hypocritical campaign has forced the fast-growing American solar industry to foot the bill for SolarWorld's competitive failures. Further damage can be prevented if governments engage in constructive dialogue to roll back protectionist barriers that limit our industry's ability to compete against fossil fuels."
Trina Solar meanwhile, said it was currently evaluating whether it is "necessary and prudent to appeal these final determinations issued by the ITC."
"We are disappointed by the Commission's vote to impose protectionist trade measures, which we believe may slow solar-related investments in the United States and delay affordable market access to our most efficient cell technology-based products," said Jifan Gao, chairman and CEO. "As announced previously, we are prepared for this outcome and will continue to abide by our contractual commitments. This will not affect the offering of product lines that are not subject to these duties."
- SolarWorld submitted a petition to Commerce on October 19, 2011, claiming China's photovoltaic manufacturers were illegally dumping product on the U.S. market
- Rumors emerge that China will retaliate by instigating an investigation into polysilicon imports from the U.S and Korea in November 2011
- China announced it would investigate U.S. renewable energy policies
- The U.S. ITC voted unanimously on December 2, 2011, to go forward with an investigation
- On May 18, 2012, after many delays, Commerce voted to impose preliminary tariffs
- China launched an AD and CVD investigation into imports of polysilicon from the U.S. and Korea on July 23
- China concludes U.S. solar subsidies violate WTO rules in August
- On September 6, the EU launches its own AD investigation into Chinese photovoltaic products, after EU ProSun filed a complaint
- EU ProSun files a second complaint to the EU, this time over illegal subsidies
- In October, Commerce made its final determination to impose AD and CVD tariffs
- Media reports that India is expected to launch an AD investigation into imports of photovoltaic modules into the country
- China announced on November 1 that it launched an investigation into European imports of solar grade polysilicon
- China complains to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that FIT schemes in Italy, Greece and other EU member states include domestic content restrictions and are inconsistent with the GATT 1994
- The final ITC decision was cast on November 7, 2012
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