World / US and Canada

Trade panel clears solar panel tariffs

By AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-01-22 14:18

The US International Trade Commission voted on Wednesday that imports of solar panels from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have hurt the US solar industry, a decision that will mean heavy import duties on the products.

The ITC panel, an independent agency that provides trade policy advice to Washington, voted 5-0 that the US industry was "materially injured" by imports from the Chinese mainland, and 4-1 by imports from Taiwan.

The ITC's move is the final decision on a trade dispute that began in December 2013 when the US-arm of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld accused Chinese PV panel makers of sidestepping import tariffs and dumping product on the US market.

As a result of the ITC decision, the Department of Commerce will issue antidumping and countervailing orders on imports of solar products from the mainland and Taiwan at rates determined in December 2014.

It was the latest US action against Chinese solar products after a similar one in 2011, which seriously affected the Chinese photovoltaic industry and hindered the development of US photovoltaic application market.

China's Ministry of Commerce has reiterated its calls for the United States to objectively and fairly handle ongoing solar trade disputes, honor its commitment against protectionism and work with China to maintain a free, open and just trade environment.

Cash deposits for countervailing duties will be equal to the final subsidy rates, which range from 38.72 percent to 49.79 percent.

Commerce previously determined that products from China were dumped at a margin ranging from 26.71 percent to 165.04 percent, and those from Taiwan at rates from 11.45 percent to 27.55 percent.

Final orders will be announced by Commerce at the end of January or beginning of February.

SolarWorld said in a statement after the ITC's announcementthat it "applauds" the decision.

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