Chinese government, companies blast US anti-dumping tariff decision

The Chinese government and leading Chinese solar companies have blasted the preliminary anti-dumping tariffs issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) last week, describing them as unfair and damaging to the U.S. solar industry.

The U.S. Commerce Department on July 25 issued steep preliminary anti-dumping (AD) tariffs of between 26% and 165% on imports of crystalline silicon solar PV cells and modules from China and Taiwan, compounding substantial preliminary anti-subsidy tariffs imposed in June.

In a statement published on Monday, China’s Ministry of Commerce expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with what it said was "escalating trade friction" between the U.S. and China.

The ministry accused the United States of ignoring "the facts and the legal basis" of the rules of origin for Chinese PV products, adding that the U.S. PV industry’s "frequent trade remedy measures … cannot solve its own development problems."

The ministry nevertheless expressed hope that the U.S. would "terminate the investigation procedures as soon as possible to create a good environment for the promotion of competition in the global PV industry."

While pointing out that trade friction was inevitable, the ministry said the government had the responsibility to "avoid affecting the normal development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations."

Meanwhile, Trina Solar, among the several Chinese PV makers singled out for special duty rates (and the company with the lowest preliminary duties of 26.33%), likewise criticized the U.S. move and took particular aim at SolarWorld, which has led the crusade on both sides of the Atlantic against Chinese companies it accuses of unfair business practices.

"Trina Solar opposes the preliminary findings and believes the allegations made by SolarWorld are contrary to the principles of free and fair trade and are unfounded," Trina said in a statement released on Tuesday. "The company continues to actively defend its position in these administrative proceedings and remains committed to serving its many customers and business partners in the United States where Trina Solar has built a solid and long-standing reputation for high quality products and services."

Despite the punitive duties, Trina said its business would continue to grow in the United States and to play an important role in the U.S. market due to its "competitive cost structure, in-house manufacturing capacities, global strategies, strong brand image and quality products."

In a statement by Thomas Koerner, general manager of Canadian Solar’s Americas division, the company likewise condemned the U.S. Commerce Department’s preliminary decision.

"We are deeply disappointed by the DOC’s decision, especially in context of the overwhelming damaging impact on the U.S. solar industry," Koerner said in a statement published on Tuesday.

"This preliminary AD announcement will definitely jeopardize what we have worked so hard for and have achieved in the last few years in the U.S. market: solar industry job creation and affordable clean energy — from small residential installations to large utility scale power plants."

Koerner said that while Canadian Solar applauded the U.S. government’s "vocal dedication" to sustainable development and job creation, "the pattern of protectionism directly contradicts these commitments."

Also taking aim at SolarWorld, Koerner added, "This decision in favor of one non-competitive PV manufacturer will cost tens and thousands of jobs across the entire U.S. solar industry, which currently employs more than 140,000 local workers.

"As a Canadian company with international activities and an international supply chain, we firmly believe in free international trade and a free market economy with no trade barriers."

Koerner added that Canadian Solar did not expect any significant disruption to its business in the U.S. due to its "global and competitive supply chain."