Final decision looms on China solar tariffs
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
A final determination from the U.S. Department of Commerce is expected Wednesday in the complaint against cheap Chinese solar panels launched by SolarWorld USA last year.
The U.S. Department of Commerce will issue its final determination Wednesday about what tariffs to levy on Chinese solar panels coming into the U.S. market.
This week's determination follows a preliminary decision, made in May, that tariffs of about 30 percent would be imposed on imports from certain Chinese manufacturers.
That decision was a victory for Hillsboro-based SolarWorld USA, which lead the campaign against cheap Chinese imports, complaining that China was unfairly flooding the market.
Analysts expect the final decision to continue the course set by the department earlier this year, perhaps even raising tariff levels higher.
Reuters points out in its report that preliminary tariffs have not had much effect on the solar industry. Global prices on solar panels are down 30 percent this year alone — due primarily to the rapid expansion of solar panel manufacturing in China.
SolarWorld and its coalition of solar manufacturers filed the complaint about a year ago making the case that Chinese manufacturers were getting unfair help from the Chinese government creating an uneven playing field in the industry.
Following the Commerce decision, the International Trade Commission is also scheduled to weigh in with a final decision. Nobody expects the initial vote — which was 6-0 upholding of the SolarWorld-led group's complaint — to reverse course.
Opponents to the trade complaint maintain that hindering Chinese solar companies will hamstring the entire industry, slowing the adoption of solar energy.
"It is clear that Germany’s SolarWorld, in an attempt to obtain government intervention to raise the price of solar energy, is willing to threaten the future growth of America’s solar industry to achieve its own goals," said the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, in a statement issued last week.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.