Solar trade war between China, the US and Europe intensifies

Posted at November 11, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Solar trade war between China, the US and Europe intensifies

The ongoing trade dispute over solar products between China, the US and Europe is intensifying.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled yesterday that imported Chinese solar cells and modules had been subsidized and sold at less than a fair price, causing “injury” to the US market.

The ruling means that antidumping and countervailing – or anti-subsidy – duties, which range from just over 18% to nearly 250% depending on the manufacturer, can now be imposed on imports of certain types of Chinese-made solar cells.

But the 6-0 vote also ruled that tariffs should not be applied retroactively, as the US Department of Commerce had wanted, as there were no “critical” circumstances.

Chinese panel manufacturers, including the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels Suntech Power, warned that trade barriers would present a “serious challenge” to the continued expansion of the US solar industry and to affordable solar panels for consumers.

But the decision has been applauded by US solar manufacturers, although the largest US producer SolarWorld vowed to continue its scrutiny of China’s “improper trade practices”.

Meanwhile, China is retaliating elsewhere by instigating World Trade Organization proceedings against some European Union members over their green energy programmes.

China is accusing some EU nations of providing subsidies for power generated by solar installations using components produced in the region. Though not named, the targets are likely to be Italy and Greece, which offer extra subsidies for EU-produced solar components.

Such subsidies violate international commerce rules, China argues, and could harm the country’s exports of photovoltaic products.

The move comes in response to an EU investigation launched in September into potential Chinese dumping of cheap solar panels and components onto the European market, as in the US.

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Related stories:
US hikes duties on Chinese solar panels (12-Oct)
EC to investigate unfair solar panel exports from China (7-Sept)

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