Re: [hreg] US puts tariff of 3.61% on most Chinese PV cells and modules
- Should be 100 percentSent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®From: "Ralph Parrott" <ralph.parrott@...>Sender: firstname.lastname@example.orgDate: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:33:40 -0500To: <email@example.com>ReplyTo: firstname.lastname@example.orgSubject: [hreg] US puts tariff of 3.61% on most Chinese PV cells and modules
The US will impose duties of 3.61% on most Chinese crystalline silicon PV cells and modules under a preliminary determination of the US Department of Commerce (DOC) that appears unlikely to have a significant impact on the market.
“It is important to note that this is a preliminary determination and the antidumping decision will be rendered in May. If the tariffs remain at these levels, we do not think that this will have a material impact on the US market.”
Solar Energy Industries Association chief executive Rhone Resch
Trina Solar, the fourth largest manufacturer by 2011 module production, was singled out for a higher duty of 4.73%, while Suntech Power, the No. 2 player according to Lux Research, will face a lower duty of 2.9%. All other Chinese producers face the 3.61% rate.
The DOC finds that the duties are warranted to counteract unfair subsidies provided by the Chinese government to its solar industry in what has been called the largest single trade dispute between the two nations. Chinese PV imports have increased 477% from $639.5m in 2009 to more than $3.1bn last year, although that total includes PV products beyond the scope of this case.
The US arm of SolarWorld and six other US PV manufacturers, which brought the trade case last October, sought duties of up to 100%. While the DOC could add additional tariffs when it announces a preliminary determination 17 May on whether Chinese manufacturers dumped product in the US, the low levels of countervailing duties announced Tuesday will likely have only a marginal impact on the market.
No material impact
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) chief executive Rhone Resch says, "It is important to note that this is a preliminary determination and the antidumping decision will be rendered in May. If the tariffs remain at these levels, we do not think that this will have a material impact on the US market."
US solar installers and project developers had feared that heavy duties on Chinese PV equipment would drive up prices, reducing demand and making solar less competitive with other energy sources.
Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy which represents the downstream segments of the US industry, calls the low tariffs "a relatively positive outcome for the US solar industry and its 100,000 employees.
"However, tariffs large or small will hurt American jobs and prolong our world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Fortunately, this decision will not significantly raise solar prices in the United States as SolarWorld has sought."
SolarWorld commended the DOC decision, noting that it is but a first step. "If fair international trade can be re-established, the solar-pioneering US industry will once again compete on legitimate market factors such as product performance, production efficiency and unsubsidized pricing,” says SolarWorld Industries America president Gordon Brinser. “We need both the domestic manufacturing and installation businesses to participate in fair competition to advance our solar industry’s reach for greater national energy, economic and environmental security.”
Suntech, singled-out for a lower duty, also reacted positively, but echoed the CASE warning that any unilateral trade barriers would hamper efforts to reduce fossil fuels use. "This initial decision reflects the reality that Suntech's global success is based on free and fair competition," says Andrew Beebe, Suntech chief commercial officer. He adds that the company's global supply chains will limit the impact of tariffs.
"We can provide our customers in the US with hundreds of megawatts of high-quality and affordable solar products that are not subject to tariffs," Beebe says, noting the company's Arizona module assembly plant.
Mike Grunow, Americas marketing director at Trina Solar, says the company does not "have any real guidance as to why" it was slapped with a higher duty rate than other manufacturers. In any case, the company remains committed to the US market and plans to continue investing here regardless of the uncertainty created by the trade dispute. "There are very few markets in the world that Trina deems as long-term, strategic markets that have the opportunity to be gigawatts of demand -- without significant subisdieis after the next few years -- and the US is one of them," he tells Recharge.
Suntech shares gained 14% Tuesday or $0.44 to close at $3.57 on twice their average trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange. Trina shares got a 7.9% lift from the DOC announcement, closing up $0.61 at $8.38. Other Chinese solar issues including Yingli Green Energy, JA Solar and Canadian Solar also saw major stock boosts, while publicly-traded US PV makers fell. First Solar, the world's largest module producer by 2011 output, lost 4.2% to close at $27.46, down $1.21 a share. SunPower was off 7.5%, shedding $0.59 a share to close at $7.31.
The duties will be applied retroactively to imports from 19 January because the DOC also found a surge of product was brought in ahead of the possible imposition of duties. Importers of the Chinese solar equipment will be required to post bonds or cash equal to the estimated duty amount that would be collected when the DOC completes its investigation and issues a final determination, scheduled for 4 June but subject to extension.
A final determination from the US International Trade Commission, which found in its parallel investigation that Chinese imports have harmed the US industry, is due 19 July. If both agencies uphold their preliminary determinations, the DOC would issue a countervailing duty order.
The DOC also says the duties will be applied to solar modules and panels produced outside of China using Chinese cells and imported into the US. However, modules produced within China using cells from a third country will not be subject to the duties.
Some Chinese manufacturers have sought to get around potential duties by establishing module manufacturing plants in other countries, such as Taiwan.
Calls for dialogue
With many pieces still up in the air, the lasting impact of the ruling remains to be seen. Individual companies and the Chinese government would also have several avenues of appeal.
The SEIA wants to prevent trade conflict between the US and China and says it is working with the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association and other groups on a "formal Solar Dialogue" within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
The SEIA supports "a rules-based process for resolving trade disputes... But the trade action against Chinese imports is indicative of a growing trend of trade conflict in the global solar energy industry that threatens to curtail the rapid growth we have seen in this market – both in the US and abroad. Governments and industry must recognize that while trade remedy proceedings such as antidumping and countervailing duty investigations are an important part of the global trade rules, so too are collaboration and negotiations", Resch says.
Scope of investigation
The DOC investigation "covers crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells of thickness equal to or greater than 20 micrometers, having a p/n junction formed by any means, whether or not the cell has undergone other processing, including, but not limited to, cleaning, etching, coating, and/or addition of materials (including, but not limited to, metallization and conductor patterns) to collect and forward the electricity that is generated by the cell".
Products subject to the duties include "parts for final finished products that are assembled after importation, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels, building-integrated modules, building-integrated panels, or other finished goods kits".
Thin-film PV equipment is not included. Neither are small crystalline silicon PV cells (total surface area less than 1,000sq cm) permanently integrated into consumer goods.
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