ITC finds dumping and subsidy damage from Taiwanese cells

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The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has just announced an ‘affirmative’ decision from its investigation into whether Chinese-made solar products featuring cells made in the third party countries are harming U.S. solar manufacturers.

A three-line bulletin on the ITC website announced the result of the Commission’s vote, which indicates it agrees with the claim such products are harming U.S. manufacturers by being dumped in the American market and by benefiting from state subsidies.

The commission opened its investigation in response to complaints from the U.S. subisidiary of German manufacturer SolarWorld that Chinese module manufacturers were avoiding the AD and – anti-subsidy – countervailing duties (CVD) applied to Chinese-made solar products by assembling panels with cells manufactured in Taiwan and other third-party states.

SolarWorld’s U.S. business claims Chinese manufacturers switched cell manufacture to Taiwan and other countries as a workaround to the U.S. duty regime.

On a day which saw Chinese giant Trina Solar purchase a cell making operation back in mainland China, the ITC verdict means a preliminary decision on the level of AD duty to be applied to all Chinese-made modules – regardless of the origin of the cells they are assembled from – will be expected next month, with a CVD decision to follow in June and both duties could be backdated three months.

SEIA compromise deal

American solar industry lobby group the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has proposed a compromise that would see Chinese module makers with cell manufacturing operations in third-party countries pay a proportion of the higher cell cost from such a supply chain into a fund for U.S. manufacturers in return for trade duties on both sides of the dispute being halted.

?The SEIA says the escalating nature of the trade dispute – which saw China impose significant duties on the U.S.-made polysilicon used in its cells within hours of the ITC opening its investigation – is harmful to the solar industry and consumers in both superpowers.

The ITC will reveal further details of tonight’s decision in approximately three hours’ time, at around 1815 CET.

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