SolarWorld praised today’s preliminary decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to impose anti-subsidy duties against U.S. imports of Chinese solar technology products and block state-sponsored Chinese solar producers from evading U.S. duties on their solar panels by outsourcing production of PV cells to third countries, such as Taiwan.
“Today is a strong win for the U.S. solar industry,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Hillsboro. “We look forward to the end of illegal Chinese government intervention in the U.S. solar market, and we applaud Commerce for its work that supports fair trade.”
Effective immediately, DOC imposed preliminary duties of 35.21% on imports of panels made by Suntech Power, 18.56% on imports of Trina Solar and 26.89% on imports of most other significant Chinese producers. On July 25, DOC is expected to announce anti-dumping duties in the same cases.
In late 2012, the U.S. crystalline silicon solar manufacturing industry won duties averaging 31% to offset illegal government subsidies that enabled Chinese producers to sell at artificially low prices to seize market share from domestic manufacturers operating within the U.S. market. But many Chinese producers evaded the duties by commissioning manufacturers in other countries to partially or fully produce solar photovoltaic cells for assembly into solar panels back in China. State-controlled Chinese media said at least 70% of U.S. imports from China contain Taiwanese cells. In that light, SolarWorld filed cases Dec. 31 to close the loophole.
SolarWorld’s trade petitions cover panels assembled in China from Taiwanese or third-country cells made from Chinese inputs. Its petition also alleges that Chinese solar producers benefit from an array of government assistance, including cash grants, discounted loans and loan guarantees, free land and utilities, and heavily discounted polysilicon, solar glass and aluminum extrusions.
With its cases, SolarWorld is acting with support from the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM). Many of CASM’s founding manufacturers now are out of business or struggling to restructure, their disbanded workforces to be counted among thousands of U.S. jobs lost to unfair trade practices. In March, Sharp Solar was forced to shut down its manufacturing facility in Tennessee. CASM represents nearly 250 companies employing nearly 21,000 Americans.