SolarWorld wins again: US affirms injury over PV imports from China, Taiwan

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In a statement, the USITC said it “determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China and Taiwan that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value and are subsidized by the government of China.”

The decision applies to Chinese and Taiwanese-made modules as well as cells made in Taiwan.

In December, the Commerce Department jacked up anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duty rates on Chinese module imports. For example, anti-subsidy rates increased to nearly 50% from 18.56% for Trina Solar, the world’s largest PV module manufacturer, and to nearly 39% on most imports of Chinese-made modules. The Commerce Department also set anti-dumping duties at about 52% on most module imports from China and at 19.5% on most imports of Taiwanese cells.

Two years ago, the Commerce Department levied tariffs averaging 29% on Chinese cell imports.

Oregon-based SolarWorld Americas, the largest PV manufacturer in the U.S., initiated the cases.

“Today’s decision confirms the facts set out in our initial filing, the commission staff report and our testimony at the agency’s November hearing in the case. Manufacturers in China and Taiwan used illegal trade practices that harm the U.S. industry,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Americas. “U.S companies, including SolarWorld, Suniva and Silicon Energy, thank the commission and its staff for its thorough investigation and fourth vote to uphold American trade laws.”

The U.S. solar industry, however, remains split over the actions, with installers particularly frustrated. Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, expressed his disappointment with the latest determination.

“It’s particularly troubling that U.S. trade policy is working to increase the cost of solar products through tariffs when we know that more affordable solar energy creates more American solar jobs,” stated Shah.

“As shown in the data from the recent National Solar Jobs Census, falling module prices contributed to a 21.8% growth of solar employment in 2014, including a doubling of the installation sector since 2010, which is the largest source of domestic employment growth. We continue to urge the governments of the U.S., China and Taiwan to negotiate a solution to the tariffs rather than erecting self-defeating barriers to global trade.”