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Solar wars: US penalizes China by doubling tariffs on panels

Published time: June 04, 2014 12:17
Edited time: June 04, 2014 14:15
Reuters/Carlos Barria

Reuters/Carlos Barria

The US plans to impose additional import duties of between 18-35% on Chinese solar panel makers, in order to protect the American market from the dumping of Chinese products. This marks an escalation of the US–China trade war that started in 2012.

The new duties proposed by the Commerce Department are higher than the initial tariffs of between 24 to 36 percent on panels imported from China that were announced in 2012.

The decision came after a US investigation showed China had flooded solar panels onto the American market at illegally low prices.

The US hopes this move will boost domestically produced solar panels. China is currently the world’s biggest producer of solar panels .

Earlier tariffs had only applied to the cells used to make the panels, but now extra duties will be imposed on both the cells and the final solar panel products. Chinese companies were able to dodge the hefty levies by assembling panels from cells produced outside of China, mainly from Taiwan.

In a preliminary decision, the Commerce Department will impose the taxes on key solar-energy exporting countries. A 35.21 percent duty will be placed on products by Wuxi Suntech Power and 5 of its affiliate companies, 18.56 on any imported material from Trina Solar, and 26.89 percent on other Chinese producers.

On top of that, the Commerce Department is expected to announce additional anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panels on July 25, the Financial Times reports.

A worker inspects solar panels at a solar farm in Dunhuang, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

Critics say that by introducing higher tariffs, the overall price of solar power across America could rise, which will slow down the country’s effort to use more renewable sources.

"The ruling is a major setback for the entire US solar industry because it will immediately increase the price of solar power and cost American jobs in one of fastest-growing sectors of the US economy," the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy said in a statement on their website on Wednesday.

China was also angry, and its Ministry of Commerce accused the US of using trade rules to protect its own industry. The move “would not solve the development problems of the US solar industry,” it said in a statement posted on its website.

Europe also struggled to find a happy medium with Chinese solar panels by setting a minimum price for panels and a volume limit through 2015.

Last year the US accused China of stealing confidential data and business secrets in order to give Chinese companies competitive advantage over American corporations in the nuclear and solar technology sectors.

The companies that allegedly suffered from espionage are such industrial giants as Alcoa World Alumina, Allegheny Technologies, SolarWorld, US Steel Corporation, the United Steelworkers Union and Westinghouse Electric.

Beijing retaliated to US duties by imposing its own tariffs of up to 57 percenton imports of polysilicon- a type of silicon from the US used to make solar cells.

Comments (63)


starpilgrim 10.06.2014 03:16

I bet, oil companies are very happy from this "protection&quo t; of US consummers.


unconventionalthinker 06.06.2014 21:40

China should hit back on the USA somehow so that the USA government will stop misusing the anti dumping rule to try to protect its uncompetitive solar panels.

Its ridiculous that the USA government does not like its own USA people to buy goods at good low prices but prefers them to be over charged.

I suggest that China should now sell all its solar panels at much higher prices to the USA compared to its price sold to other countries.

This way in future the USA government can no longer complain about being made to buy at too cheap a price.


unconventionalthinker 06.06.2014 21:31

Solar panels installers and consumers of solar energy in the USA are the real losers here while the uncompetitive solar panels manufacturers in the USA gets subsidised which is a crazy stupid idea.

Event ually after a few more years ,all the USA solar panels will no longer be able to compete any more with the rest of the world as they get used to being subsidized.

Keep it up,USA government.

Eventually you will no longer have any more efficient industries in any field as none can compete except by imposing the ridiculous anti dumping duties.

View all comments (63)
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