US probe to es­ca­late so­lar panel war

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The so­lar- in­dus­try war be­tween China and the United States es­ca­lated fur­ther when the US Com­merce Depart­ment an­nounced on Thurs­day the start of a new in­ves­ti­ga­tion of cer­tain so­lar in­dus­try prod­ucts from the Chi­nese main­land and Tai­wan.

The US Com­merce Depart­ment’s an­nounce­ment cov­ers anti-dump­ing (AD) in­ves­ti­ga­tions of im­ports of cer­tain crys­talline sil­i­con pho­to­voltaic prod­ucts from the Chi­nese main­land and Tai­wan as well as a coun­ter­vail­ing duty (CVD) in­ves­ti­ga­tion of im­ports of cer­tain crys­talline sil­i­con pho­to­voltaic prod­ucts from the Chi­nese main­land.

The anti-dump­ing AD in­ves­ti­ga­tions are to de­ter­mine find whether a for­eign com­pany sells a prod­uct in the US at less than its fair value. The coun­ter­vail­ing duty while CVD in­ves­ti­ga­tions aim to de­tect whether fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from for­eign gov­ern­ments ben­e­fits the pro­duc­tion of goods from for­eign firms and is­are limited to spe­cific en­ter­prises or in­dus­tries, or is­are con­tin­gent ei­ther upon ex­port per­for­mance or upon the use of do­mes­tic goods over im­ported goods.

So­lar­World In­dus­tries Amer­ica Inc, an Ore­gon-based sub­sidiary of a Ger­man com­pany, filed a pe­ti­tion to the Com­merce Depart­ment. It claimed that loop­holes in a 2012 tar­iff de­ci­sion al­low Chi­nese main­land so­lar-panel man­u­fac­tur­ers to avoid avert US penal­ties by us­ing so­lar cells made in Tai­wan.

In 2012, US im­ports of cer­tain crys­talline sil­i­con pho­to­voltaic prod­ucts from the Chi­nese main­land and Tai­wan were val­ued at an es­ti­mated $2.1 bil­lion and $513.5 mil­lion, re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to the Com­merce Depart­ment.

The In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion un­der the depart­ment is sched­uled to make its pre­lim­i­nary in­jury de­ter­mi­na­tions on or be­fore Feb 14. If it finds de­ter­mines that there is a rea­son­able in­di­ca­tion that im­ports in­jure or threaten ma­te­rial in­jury to US do­mes­tic in­dus­try, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will con­tinue and the Com­merce Depart­ment will be sched­uled to make its pre­lim­i­nary coun­ter­vail­ing duty CVD de­ter­mi­na­tion in March and its pre­lim­i­nary anti-dump­ing AD de­ter­mi­na­tions in June. If the ITC pre­lim­i­nary de­ter­mi­na­tions are neg­a­tive, the in­ves­ti­ga­tions will be ter­mi­nated.

Fol­low­ing So­lar­World’s In­dus­tries Amer­ica pe­ti­tion, the So­lar En­ergy In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion(SEIA, Wash­ing­ton DC) Pres­i­dent and CEO Rhone Resch is­sued a state­ment on Dec 31, op­pos­ing an es­ca­la­tion of the US-China so­lar trade con­flict.

“More lit­i­ga­tion is the wrong ap­proach. Trade lit­i­ga­tion is a blunt in­stru­ment and, alone, in­ca­pable of re­solv­ing the com­plex com­pet­i­tive­ness is­sues that ex­ist be­tween the US and Chi­nese so­lar in­dus­tries,” Resch said.

“It’s time to end this con­flict and ne­go­ti­a­tions must play a role,”he said.

China and

the Euro­pean area”.

Tesla is also look­ing to de­velop a Su­per­charger net­work in China to en­able own­ers to travel long dis­tances be­tween ma­jor cities such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

The road for Tesla hasn’t been smooth since it en­tered China last year. A lo­cal Chi­nese busi­ness­man has al­ready se­cured rights to use the name Union had also en­gaged in a war in the last past two years over of al­leged Chi­nese dump­ing of so­lar pan­els in Europe. A But a fi­nal showdown was averted in De­cem­ber when both com­pro­mised for a deal.

Com­merce’s The Thurs­day an­nounce­ment by the Com­merce Depart­ment was orig­i­nally ex­pected to be made on Tues­day, but a ma­jor snow storm that day forced caused clo­sure of the fed­eral govern­ment to close.

The an­nounce­ment came just three days af­ter a Mon­day de­ci­sion by China’s Com­merce Min­istry de­cided Mon­day to im­pose five-year du­ties on so­lar-grade polysil­i­con im­ports from the US and South Korea. So­lar-grade polysil­i­con is an im­por­tant ma­te­rial for mak­ing so­lar cells.

Un­der the de­ci­sion, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately af­ter the an­nounce­ment, China ap­plies anti-sub­sidy du­ties of up to 2.1 per­cent and anti-dump­ing du­ties from 53.3 per­cent to 57 per­cent on polysil­i­con im­ports from the US. The du­ties for im­ports from South Korea are Tesla in the coun­try, mean­ing the maker of the best-sell­ing US elec­tric car still lacks a Chi­nese name.

Musk said ne­go­ti­a­tions aimed at re­solv­ing the dis­pute are pro­ceed­ing. About half of the mat­ters at is­sue have been re­solved, he said. “The Chi­nese au­thor­ity has been very help­ful and it is been very good work­ing with them,” he said. set at be­tween 2.4 per­cent and to 48.7 per­cent.

The de­ci­sion came af­ter China started to levy pro­vi­sional du­ties on polysil­i­con im­ports from the two coun­tries last year. Pafter pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions found that US and South Korean ex­porters dumped their prod­ucts on Chi­nese mar­ket, caus­ing sub­stan­tial harm to Chi­nese pro­duc­ers.

Such a tit-for-tat trade war has been go­ing on for some times. In 2012, the US im­posed anti-dump­ing and coun­ter­vail­ing du­ties on crys­talline sil­i­con pho­to­voltaic cells from China. The de­ci­sion has led to fac­tory closures and the loss of many jobs in China.

The US Com­merce Depart­ment claimed that Chi­nese pro­duc­ers and ex­porters sold so­lar cells in the US mar­ket at dump­ing mar­gins rang­ing from 18.32 per­cent to 249.96 per­cent, and they re­ceived coun­ter­vailingable sub­si­dies of 14.78 per­cent to 15.97 per­cent. Xin­hua and Bloomberg contributed to the re­port­ing

Theodore O’Neill, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Litchfield Hills Re­search, said the “big­gest chal­lenge” for Tesla will be “to keep its de­sign from be­ing copied.”

“I think the Chi­nese have a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing ex­cel­lence and I think the Tesla Model S has a rare com­bi­na­tion of both,” O’Neill said in an in­ter­view.

ZHANG YANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese scholar Jia Qing­guo (left), speaks at a panel on Wed­nes­day in New York while Ja­panese scholar Yoshi­hid lis­tens.

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