US Sets Steep Tariffs on Wind Towers from China, Vietnam

The US has set steep tariffs on wind towers made in China and Vietnam that are purportedly being "dumped" in the US below cost. 

Chinese makers will pay anti-dumping duties of 45-71% and  some will also pay 22-35% in countervailing fees to offset government subsidies. Import fees for Vietnamese makers range from 52-59%.

The tariffs set by the Commerce Department apply to utility-scale towers that support wind turbines with a capacity of more than 100 kilowatts. 

Preliminary tariffs were set in May at 26% and echo a similar set of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy penalties of 18-250% that the US has started collecting on imports of Chinese solar panels.

The wind tower tariffs stem from a complaint filed earlier this year by US wind tower manufacturers who claim Chinese companies receive production subsidies of 14-26%, making it tough for domestic manufacturers to complete.

Broadwind Towers, DMI Industries, Katana Summit and Trinity Structural Towers are among the companies that filed the complaint.

The tariffs are still subject to scrutiny by the US International Trade Commission, which will make a decision by late January.

In 2011, the US imported an estimated $222 million in wind tower equipment from China and another $79 million from Vietnam, according to the International Trade Administration.

Those lower-priced towers cut into profits and market share of US manufacturers, says Alan Price, an attorney who represents the companies that originally brought the complaint.

"Over the last years, in a period of peak demand, the U.S. industry should have been profitable," Price told Reuters. "Instead, due to the surge in dumped and subsidized imports, the industry lost market share and saw its profits collapse."

Wind tower manufacturers, who are staring the expiration of the wind production tax credit (PTC) in the face as it expires December 31, are counting on the tariffs for help. 

Even modest volumes of additional imports will have devastating effects on the remaining domestic producers, threatening the future viability of U.S. wind tower production," say the manufacturers who filed the complaint. 

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