The US plans to impose additional import duties of up to 35.2 per cent on Chinese-made solar panels in an escalation of the trade war in the industry that began in 2012.
The Department of Commerce announced on Tuesday that following an investigation it had made a preliminary finding that photovoltaic solar components imported from China were being subsidised in a way that damaged US-based manufacturers.
It proposed duties at much higher rates than a first round announced in March 2012 and with a broader scope, covering both assembled solar panels and the cells used to make them. The duties initially covered only solar cells.
The commerce department investigation followed a complaint from SolarWorld, a German-owned company that owns a solar panel factory in Oregon.
It had argued that Chinese exporters were getting round the earlier tariffs by outsourcing the manufacture of cells to other countries, particularly Taiwan, and then assembling them into panels in China.
Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld America, described the decision as “a strong win for the US solar industry”.
However, the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, which represents the users of imported panels, said it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision, which was “a major setback for the entire US solar industry”.
Generators and installers that use imported panels warn that duties would make solar power in the US more expensive and slow its expansion at a time when it is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuels.
The duties are scheduled to be confirmed by the commerce department on or around August 18, and will then be reviewed for about 45 days by the US International Trade Commission until a final decision is made around October 3.
The commerce department is also expected to announce additional anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panels on July 25.
The Case said the best path forward would be a negotiated settlement between the US and Chinese governments to end the dispute.
It added: “SolarWorld must come to the table and work with the industry to find a settlement that benefits the entire global supply chain.”
美国商务部(Department of Commerce)周二宣布，初步调查发现，进口自中国的光伏太阳能元件获得了补贴，损害了美国制造商的利益。
然而，美国廉价太阳能联合会(Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy)表示，对这一决定“深感失望”，这是“美国整个太阳能行业的一次重大挫折”。廉价太阳能联合会代表的进口太阳能电池板用户。
预计这些关税将在8月18日获得美国商务部的批准，随后美国国际贸易委员会(US International Trade Commission)将花费45天左右的时间对这些关税进行评估，最后决定将在10月3日左右做出。