Wacker Chemie extends its agreement with China during review of EU polysilicon import duties

Today China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that it will conduct reviews of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties which it imposed on polysilicon imports from the European Union. However, the EU’s largest polysilicon maker will continue to be exempt from these duties.

Wacker Chemie negotiated a Minimum Import Price agreement directly with China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in 2014, under which Wacker will refrain from selling its polysilicon in China under a certain price. This agreement was hammered out as MOFCOM was imposing heavy duties on U.S. and EU polysilicon makers, which have shut most Western companies out of the Chinese market.

In a press release, Wacker stated today that the agreement will stay in place while MOFCOM conducts a one-year review of EU polysilicon import duties. MOFCOM will complete the review by April 30, 2017 and while the review is underway the duties will remain.

“The current ruling’s extension means that we can continue supplying our high-quality material at competitive prices to our Chinese customers, who need it to produce highly efficient solar modules,” stated WACKER CEO Rudolf Staudigl in the release.

?In an analysis of China’s polysilicon market, Taiwan’s EnergyTrend found that German polysilicon still makes up roughly 1/4 of the volume imported into the nation. Korean polysilicon comprises roughly half, and Korean polysilicon makers are subject to minimal duties.

Chinese trade action on polysilicon came in the wake of U.S. duties on Chinese PV cells and modules and Europe’s Minimum Import Price (MIP) agreement, and are widely seen as retribution for U.S. and EU trade action on Chinese PV products.

Polysilicon expert Johannes Bernreuter, head of Bernreuter Research, says that it is a “fair assumption” that Chinese polysilicon duties mirror EU action on the MIP.

And while MOFCOM decides whether or not to lift the duties on EU polysilicon, there will be no such relief for U.S. producers. U.S. duties will stay in place through 2019.