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03/20/2012 05:30 PM     print story email story  

US Sets Tariffs on Chinese Solar Imports

SustainableBusiness.com News

The US Commerce Department today says it's made a preliminary decision to impose tariffs on solar panels imported from China, and will make a final decision in June.

Because China is unfairly subsidizing solar production, they say, the Commerce Dept has ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect tariffs ranging from 2.90%-4.73%, retroactive for 90 days before the ruling.

It seems that Chinese solar firms are being charged different tariffs. Suntech is being charged 2.9%, Trina Solar 4.73% and all others 3.61%, based on the subsidies they receive, reports Bloomberg. 

It's a victory for the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, which filed a petition for the tariffs with the Commerce Department and International Trade Commission last year. But they asked for tariffs of 100%.

The group also claims Chinese solar companies are selling panels at a loss to take over the market. The Commerce Department will rule on that separately in May.

Many in the solar industry believe it will have minimal impact, and expected higher tariffs - as much as 10%.

The market rewarded Chinese solar companies with 12% increases in share prices.

After the Commerce Department makes its final decision, the International Trade Commission will then come to its own conclusion, probably in July.

The push for tariffs caused a rift in the solar industry. Installers, who have been having banner years because of low prices, are against the tariffs. 

China has said it would launch its own investigation into US support for solar companies.



Reader Comments (2)

Author:
kafantaris

Date Posted:
03/20/12 12:53 AM

This is a stupid move. For all that matters, the Chinese can give us the solar panels for free. In the end, we are the ones who will get the benefit, since we are the ones who will end up the cheaper solar energy. Why are we fighting it then? Erecting barriers against cheap solar panels -- no matter who makes them -- directly translates to erecting barriers against cheap renewable energy. Imposing such obstacles at time of high energy prices is utter foolishness.

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Author:
Rona Fried

Date Posted:
03/21/12 01:16 PM

Kafantaris, you are expressing the same opinions as the installers in the solar industry, who benefit from low prices. However, these very low prices have made it impossible for the other side of the solar industry - the manufacturers. Many of the pioneers - who develop solar technology - are struggling because they can't compete with such low prices. Read our previous stories on this subject, which are linked to in this article. Interestingly, because China still runs mostly on coal, solar panel manufacturing there creates more greenhouse gases than in Germany, where there's much more renewable energy and where the pioneers are headquartered.

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