China Rejects Anti-Dumping Tariffs on Solar Panels

Posted May 18th, 2012 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
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China has criticized U.S. anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Chinese solar panels, raising trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson Shen Danyang on Friday called the tariffs “unfair,” saying they highlight the United States' “tendency toward protectionism.”

The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday announced duties between 31 and 250 percent on Chinese made solar panels, ruling they are being “dumped” in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production.

This would be on top of previous tariffs ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.7 percent imposed in March because of what the U.S. says is unfair Chinese government subsidies for solar power equipment.

The move is meant to boost the U.S. solar manufacturing industry, which has struggled against Chinese competition.

Although the ruling was expected, it risked straining trade ties between China and the U.S., which have already squared off on a number of other trade disputes in recent months.

Some critics warn the decision could make solar panels more expensive for U.S. customers, saying Chinese companies may raise prices of their equipment in order to make a larger profit.

But U.S. solar panel makers who asked the government to impose the duties say the dumping of Chinese equipment has had a significant impact on their business. The chief Lawyer for Coalition of American Solar Timothy Brightbill says demand for solar power is growing in the U.S. but the U.S. industry has been “closing its doors.”

“In the last two years, 12 U.S. producers of solar cells and modules have been forced to shut down or declare bankruptcy or to have significant layoffs because of these Chinese imports of dumped and subsidized product.”

Several Chinese manufacturers of solar panels on Friday rejected accusations that they were selling goods at improperly low prices. They say the move will hurt both the U.S. and Chinese clean energy industries.

The Commerce Department is expected to confirm Thursday's preliminary ruling in October.