China Criticizes U.S. Move on Solar-Equipment Imports
By Erin McCarthy and Wayne Ma
China'sYingli Green Energy Holding Co. on Monday said it is still committed to the U.S. solar market, even though the company will be subject to hefty tariffs as the U.S. and China battle over dumping claims.
Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department said Yingli Green and other companies shipped billions of dollars of solar equipment to the U.S. at unfairly low prices last year, and the department in turn levied provisional tariffs on those firms.
China'sMinistry of Commerce on Monday said the U.S. actions ignored "facts and laws" related to the "rules of origin" for trade. The ministry reiterated earlier statements, saying it was "strongly dissatisfied" with the measure and that the U.S. decision was an "abuse of trade remedies."
The U.S. decision is part of a continuing battle between large producers of solar panels in North America and Europe and producers in Asia, which the U.S. blames for violating trade rules to support domestic producers. Panels from China have been far cheaper than those produced in other countries, driving down overall U.S. prices by about two-thirds since 2010.
China-based Trina Solar Ltd. last week was assigned a preliminary antidumping tariff of 26.33%, and Yingli Green and Wuxi Suntech Power Co. will have to pay a 42.33% duty on U.S. shipments if the dumping is confirmed.
The Commerce Department in June announced preliminary duties because of Chinese subsidies, and last week's decision on dumping brings the U.S. closer to putting up barriers to Asian solar products that weren't included in the earlier case.
Both sets of tariffs won't become permanent until they receive final approval from the Commerce Department, which is expected to rule by December, and the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is expected to rule by January.
China's commerce ministry said it hoped the U.S. would halt its trade investigation as soon as possible. The agency added that the measures would hurt "the upstream and downstream photovoltaic industries" in both countries, which run the gamut from firms that make the raw materials for solar components to solar-panel installers.
"Trade friction is unavoidable, but governments have the responsibility to control and avert their impact on the normal development of China-U.S. economic and trade relations," the ministry said.
The tariffs were prompted by a petition filed by Solarworld Industries America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, Germany's biggest solar-panel maker. SolarWorld says it is a victim of both dumping and unfair subsidies from China, hurting its ability to compete for major buyers of solar products.
When combined with the previously announced tariff, Yingli's total combined tariff rate on imported photovoltaic modules assembled in China is 47.27%, the Chinese solar-product maker said.
"Unfortunately, this determination will increase the price of solar energy in America, severely jeopardizing the U.S. solar industry's tremendous progress in cost competitiveness and affordability when compared with traditional energy sources," said Robert Petrina, managing director of Yingli Green Energy Americas Inc., adding that the company has fully cooperated throughout the investigation. "We remain committed to the U.S. solar market and will continue to support our partners and projects."
William Mauldin contributed to this article.
Write to Erin McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org and Wayne Ma at email@example.com
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