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Commerce releases determination on Chinese solar dumping case

The United States is standing firm on their claims that Chinese solar companies have been dumping their products in the U.S. market.

After a period of investigation prompted by a formal complaint from American solar companies, the U.S. Department of Commerce found that several Chinese solar cell producers and exporters were selling their products in the U.S. at artificially low prices.

The preliminary determinations in May (see related story) saw over 59 Chinese companies levied with antidumping duties between 31 and 250 percent.

An affirmative final determination from the Commerce Department on the investigation was released this October 10. This final determination set the antidumping duties between 18 to 249 percent. The companies will also be subject to anti-subsidy tariffs of 15 to 16 percent.

The case is now moving on to the U.S. International Trade Commission which is scheduled to make its final determination on or before November 23, 2012.

The investigation covered crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, modules, laminates and panels produced in China as well as modules, laminates and panels produced with cells from China. They did not include thin-film photovoltaic products or modules, laminates and panels produced in China using cells produced elsewhere.

The antidumping duties have been strongly opposed by Chinese solar companies and the Chinese government. The duties are seen as possibly hurting efforts to promote clean energy (see related story).

This new ruling has prompted statements from the companies involved such as Yingli Green Energy, Suntech and Trina Solar.

Yingli Solar expressed their gratitude to their customers, suppliers, partners and employees for standing by them and hoped to get back to “daily business, focusing on innovation and outstanding customer support."

The company will be subject to an antidumping tariff of 15.42 percent and an anti-subsidy tariff of 15.24 percent, a rate that the statement noted is lower than was originally proposed.

Originally, Wuxi Suntech and Trina Solar were pointed to as the biggest offenders, with preliminary dumping margins of 31.22 percent and 31.14 percent respectively. The new determination found that Wuxi Suntech had an even higher dumping margin of 31.73 percent, while Trina Solar got a lower dumping margin of 18.32 percent.

Suntech criticized the decision, saying it would make solar less competitive against other forms of electricity generation. However, they stressed that they were still prepared to serve the needs of their customers.

"As a multinational company with global supply chains and manufacturing facilities in three countries, including Goodyear, Arizona, we will continue to provide our customers in the U.S. with hundreds of megawatts of high-quality and affordable solar products that will not be subject to tariffs," said E.L. McDaniel, managing director of Suntech America.

Trina Solar issued a statement saying they disagreed with the Department of Commerce’s conclusions on the case but would wait for the separate determination of the I.T.C. to determine if it was necessary and prudent to appeal the final determinations of both the Department of Commerce and the I.T.C.

Suntech was given an anti-subsidy rate of 14.78 percent while Trina got 15.97 percent. (Katrice R. Jalbuena)

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