The U.S. Commerce Department this week said it would begin applying countervailing duties on imports of Chinese-made electric-generating solar panels.
The countervailing duty law provides U.S. solar panel manufacturers with a mechanism to seek relief from market-distorting effects caused by injurious subsidization of Chinese solar panel imports, the department said.
Commerce calculated a preliminary subsidy rate of 18.56 percent for Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd., which includes Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science & Technology Co. Mandatory respondent Wuxi Suntech Power Co. and five of its affiliates received a preliminary subsidy rate of 35.21 percent. All other producers/exporters in China have been assigned a preliminary subsidy rate of 26.89 percent.
“Because the government of China failed to respond completely to certain questions, we applied adverse facts available in determining that certain subsidy programs were countervailable,” Commerce said in a statement.
The petitioner for this investigation is Oregon-based SolarWorld Industries America.
The merchandise covered by Commerce’s investigation is crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules, laminates and/or panels consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including building integrated materials. These solar energy products are currently classified in the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule under subheadings 8501.61.0000, 8507.20.8030, 8507.20.8040, 8507.20.8060, 8507.20.8090, 8541.40.6020, 8541.40.6030 and 8501.31.8000.
In 2013, imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China were valued at an estimated $1.5 billion, Commerce noted.
Meanwhile, Commerce is scheduled to announce its final determination in this investigation by Aug. 18, unless the statutory deadline is extended.
If Commerce makes an affirmative final determination, and the U.S. International Trade Commission makes an affirmative final determination that imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China harm domestic industry, Commerce will issue a countervailing duty order. If either Commerce’s or the ITC’s final determination is negative, no countervailing order will be issued. The ITC is scheduled to make its final injury determination about 45 days after Commerce issues its final determination, if affirmative.