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China: US ruling on solar panels 'unreasonable'

By Du Juan, Ding Qingfen and Zhang Yuwei (China Daily)

09:17, May 19, 2012

China on Friday rejected a US anti-dumping ruling against Chinese solar power equipment, calling it "unfair" and "unreasonable", as Chinese manufacturers warned that possible higher tariffs might hurt efforts to promote clean energy.

Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, condemned the US anti-dumping tariffs as trade protectionism.

"By deliberately provoking trade friction in the clean energy sector, the United States is sending the world a negative signal about trade protectionism," Shen said in a statement.

The two governments have pledged to cooperate in developing renewable energy but have accused each other of violating free-trade pledges by subsidizing their own manufacturers.

Thursday's preliminary ruling by the US Department of Commerce said Chinese producers sold solar cells and panels below fair price and hurt American producers. If that ruling is upheld, tariffs averaging 31 percent could be imposed on Chinese solar-panel imports.

Also on Friday, the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association said that China is requesting the US Department of Commerce to "recheck the facts and make the right decision" without being affected by the US election.

Top Chinese exporters, including Suntech Power Holdings and Trina Solar, were punished with tariffs of about 31 percent.

Other Chinese solar companies will face import duties from 31 percent to 250 percent, although the levels could be changed before the final ruling from the commerce department in October.

According to the US Department of Commerce, imports of solar cells from China in 2011 were valued at an estimated $3.1 billion.

"Chinese companies will lose their price advantage compared with US companies with the high import taxes," said Gao Hongling, deputy secretary-general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance.

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