Fri, Oct 12, 2012 - Page 1 News List

US sets steep duties on Chinese solar products

Reuters, WASHINGTON

The US on Wednesday slapped steep duties on billions of dollars of solar energy products from China, but turned down a request from lawmakers and US manufacturers to expand the scope of the duties.

Beijing and Chinese solar manufacturers criticized the decision, adding more heat to the US-China trade relationship following a congressional panel report on Monday urging US companies not to do business with two Chinese telecommunications firms because of security concerns.

“The United States is provoking trade friction in the new energy sector, and sending a negative signal to the world that stirs global trade protectionism and obstructs the sector’s development,” Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang (沈丹陽) said.

Shen called on Washington to “correct its mistaken ways” and warned that the duties would harm US exporters and customers.

The US Department of Commerce said Chinese companies were “dumping” solar cells and panels in the US at prices 18.32 percent to 249.96 percent below fair value, although some individual companies received lower anti-dumping duty rates than in a preliminary decision earlier this year.

The department also set additional countervailing duties ranging from 14.78 percent to 15.97 percent to combat Chinese government subsidies, significantly higher than preliminary levels.

The US imported about US$3.1 billion of solar cells and panels from China last year, although that figure contains some products not covered by the investigation.

In a related decision that disappointed US producers and cheered US companies that install solar panels, the department turned down pleas to expand the scope of its order to include Chinese panels (or modules) made with non-Chinese solar cells.

Timothy Brightbill, attorney for SolarWorld Industries Americas, the main force behind the case, said it would continue to aggressively pursue that issue in the hopes of a more favorable ruling.

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