The trade dispute between the U.S.A. and China regarding solar imports in the U.S.A. has gone into the next round. On May 17th, the US Department of Commerce announced preliminary countervailing duties of between 31% and 250%. Duties imposed on manufacturers are as follow:
-Suntech Power: 31.22%
-Trina Solar: 31.14%
-59 further manufacturers, including Canadian Solar, Hanwha SolarOne, Yingli Solar, LDK Solar and Jinko Solar: 31.18%
-all other manufacturers/ exporters: 249.96%
The countervailing duties shall apply retrospectively for 90 days and are for the import of solar goods including solar cells manufactured in China. However, the decision is preliminary. The decision will not be finalized until the first week of October. The current announcement comes in addition to the duties imposed for unfair subsidies which were determined at the end of March. These were between 2.9% and 5%.
This decision on duties was met based on price dumping allegations made against Chinese companies. It is assumed that they have been unfairly favored due to public subsidy programs. This allowed them to sell their products below manufacturing costs. This case was initiated by SolarWorld Industries Americas Inc., the US subsidiary of the German solar company SolarWorld.
Backlash or Joint Solution?
While several experts expect a backlash from the Chinese government, representatives of Chinese companies are aiming for a joint solution. During the exhibition and conference SNEC 2012 in Shanghai, they pleaded to not let the trade dispute escalate into a trade war. The Chinese and U.S. government should solve the problem together. Daniela Schreiber, Executive Vice President of Hoehner Research and Consulting USA Corporation (HRCC), warns of the consequences: “The solar industry and the Asian manufacturers in particular were able to continuously decrease prices for solar modules due to, amongst others, economies of scale in the previous years. These countervailing duties will now increase the prices for solar modules and lead to reduced demand in an already tough market environment, e.g. in Europe,” stated Daniela Schreiber.
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