US trade watchdog opens investigation into Chinese PV imports

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is investigating dumping and subsidy allegations against Chinese and Taiwanese crystalline silicon PV producers who import to the United States.

SolarWorld Industries Americas filed trade petitions against crystalline silicon solar products from China and Taiwan in December, saying it was seeking to stop Chinese and Taiwanese producers from evading duties by assembling modules from cells manufactured in third countries, a practice that it maintains allowed them to sell below production costs in the U.S.

Specifically, SolarWorld said it submitted the petitions with the ITC and the U.S. Department of Commerce to "close a loophole in trade remedies issued a year ago this month. The loophole enables Chinese producers to evade duties averaging about 31% by assembling modules from cells manufactured in third countries."

The ITC is looking into whether Chinese PV companies are indeed dumping or benefitting from unfair subsidies and damaging the U.S. solar industry as a result.

The ITC expects to issue a determination on its findings on Feb. 14. The Commerce Department will then rule on the matter and determining whether to impose additional anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

The U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) opposes further litigation, however, and has called for a negotiated settlement to the trade dispute and called on all parties to find common ground on the issue.