The United States ruled Thursday that China is dumping solar cells into its market at large margins, setting the stage for likely hefty anti-dumping duties on imports from China.
In a move likely to step up trade tensions between the world's two largest economies, the Commerce Department said it had found that Chinese solar cell producers and exporters had been selling solar cells into the United States at dumping margins ranging from 31% to 250%.
The verdict is in, said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld, which along with six other solar manufacturers petitioned for the action. In addition to its preliminary finding that Chinese solar companies were on the receiving end of at least 10 WTO-illegal subsidies, Commerce has now confirmed that Chinese manufacturers are guilty of illegally dumping solar cells and panels in the U.S. market.
It named Suntech Power, the world's largest maker of solar cells, and another large producer, Trina Solar, and their subsidiaries as key offenders, but said at least 59 other companies would also be hit with anti-dumping duties.
Commerces ruling in the SolarWorld case is a bellwether decision, said Steve Ostrenga, chief executive officer of Helios, another party in the case. It underscores the importance of domestic manufacturing to the U.S. economy and will help determine whether the country will be a global competitor in clean technologies or outsource them [to] China. It is also critically important for thousands of U.S. workers.
The ruling, a preliminary decision to be confirmed by the department by October, follows a March ruling that said China was unfairly subsidizing solar cell exports and set preliminary counterveiling duties of 2.9% to 4.7%.
Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse
Additional reporting by IndustryWeek staff