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US Duties Proposed on Solar Products Upset China

Jan. 22, 2015
At issue are imports including crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell, module and panels, imported as separate components or part of other products.

BEIJING - A U.S. trade panel's move to impose import duties on solar products made in China and Taiwan will cause "serious harm", Beijing said Thursday, warning of the decision's global repercussions.

The statement from China's Commerce Ministry came one day after the U.S. International Trade Commission paved the way for duty orders on imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products, saying that they were being dumped and unfairly subsidized.

"The U.S. side's findings ignore the facts and legal regulations," China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement posted on its website, calling the move "a breach by the U.S. of its obligation to comply with World Trade Organization rules."

"The abuse by the United States of trade remedy measures causes serious harm to Chinese companies as well as to the interests of U.S. consumers and industry," the Commerce Ministry said.

It added that China "will consider working within the WTO framework as well as the American judicial system to exercise its rights and protect its own interests".

The ITC decision came a year after the U.S. Commerce Department launched the probes on imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China and Taiwan, another round in trade conflicts between the world's two largest economies.

At issue are imports of products that include crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell, module and panels, imported as separate components or integrated with other products.

The value of the solar product imports under investigation was more than $2.1 billion in 2013, with an estimated $1.5 billion in imports from China and $656.8 million from Taiwan, according to the Commerce Department.

The probe was requested by a large U.S. solar manufacturer, SolarWorld Industries America Inc., of Hillsboro, Oregon, a unit of German solar giant SolarWorld AG.

In its statement, China's Commerce Ministry argued that the move would "hinder further cooperation as well as the development of the new energy industry in the U.S. and around the world."

The Chinese government expresses "serious concern" over the decision and "urges the U.S. to strictly abide by international rules," it said.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department said it would set large import duties on car and light-truck tires made in China, saying producers were dumping them into the US market. 

Most of the dozens of companies affected by the ruling will face duties of 27.72 percent.

China's Commerce Ministry did not immediately respond to the announcement.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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