Lower as expected: US Department of Commerce announced preliminary arrangements for counterveiling duties on imported PV products from China
Bonn/San Francisco. The USA are now implementing counterveiling duties on solar products that are manufactured in China and imported into the US. A recently published statement states that the premiums, depending on the manufacturer, are fixed between 2.9% and 4.73% The basis for this mark up, according to the ministry, is the government subsidies of more than 30 bn USD that Chinese manufacturers like Suntech Power, Trina Solar and other companies have already received. The ministry defends it's decision by stating that this competitive advantage should remain balanced.
The basis for the amount of countervailing duties was determined in a study of 30 state funded programs from which the Chinese manufacturers benefited financially. The dispuit was triggered by a law suit involving SolarWorld Industries Americas Inc, the US subsidiary of German solar company SolarWorld. A final decision on the anti-dumping allegations by the Department of Commerce will me made in May or June, the current figures are therefore provisional.
The Department of Commerce has however lifted tarriffs on all modules, laminates and panels that contain solar cells manufactured in China. Whether the products are imported from China or another country is irrelevant. Daniela Schrieber, Executive Vice President of the United States Hoerner Research and Consulting Corporation (HRCC), explains the loophole of this new regulation, "since the duties can not be not levied and if the product is manufactured in China but the cells derive from another country we can assume that there will be increased imports of cells from Taiwan into China in the future. This is only one strategy to react on these challenges". Excluded from the compensation are also thin-film modules from amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper-indium-gallium-selenium (CIGS).
Compensation varies from manufacturer to manufacturer
The compensation in each case will depend on the level of demand on each company. Following the decision, Suntech Power will pay the least at 2.9%, Trina Solar, the most with 4.73%.All other companies will be charged 3.61%. The ministry will insist all importers pay compensation in this amount.
Many industry expert expected much higher tariffs. Ibolya Tarsoly, Senior Reoresentitive of the HRCC said, " In the run up to the decision much higher levels of compensation were expected so therefore the preliminary decisions for the Chinese manufactures should be manageable". "It must be noted, however, that the US Dept. Of Commerce won't be making the final decision until May or June. The payments could be even higher then".
The American Association of Solar Energy Industries wants to place more emphasis on a dialogue between the governments and the industrial companies on a global level. This will allow the association to help avoid further possible escalations between different countries. From the Chinese side of things an examination of six state funded programs will be examined for unfair competition.
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