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US tariff signal PV industry protectionism

By Xie Yu and Li Jiabao (China Daily)

13:40, May 25, 2012

A technician at a factory in Ganyu, Jiangsu province, conducts final inspections of solar components bound for export. Chinese solar panel producers oppose a US move to impose higher tariffs on such panels. [Photo / China Daily]

Chinese solar panel manufacturers on Thursday expressed strong opposition to the anti-dumping tariff imposed by the United States and warned that the decision will harm the US economy.

"Chinese companies are against trade protectionism and oppose a trade war. But if our companies are treated unfairly, we reserve the right to urge our government to retaliate," Shi Yonghong, vice-president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, said at a news conference in Shanghai jointly held by more than 10 Chinese solar panel makers.

The US Commerce Department announced duties of between 31 and 250 percent on Chinese-made solar panels last week, claiming they are being "dumped" in the US market at below-cost prices.

If the preliminary decision is upheld in October, the Chinese solar companies will face these heavy tariffs, in addition to fees ranging from 2.9 to 4.73 percent imposed in March, after the department found that China was "improperly subsidizing its solar manufacturers".

Solar power is used by more and more people, and prices have fallen by 50 percent in recent years. Some say China may retaliate by imposing high tariffs on commodities imported from the US, including polysilicon.

To produce solar cells, China imports more than $2 billion of polysilicon, sizing agents and other raw materials from the US every year, according to the CCCME.

Shi did not confirm if Chinese authorities will take that action, but he said China will try every means to protect the legitimate interests of the companies.

Further, he warned, the new tariffs might hurt employment in the US solar industry.

That industry offers about 100,000 jobs, many of which were created by Chinese companies and their downstream distributors and installers, Shi said.

If the price for solar is pushed up by the new tariffs, many people might lose their jobs, he added.

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Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

wende at 2012-05-2571.251.44.*
Retaliate is the only thing US can understand. US will not stop at blocking China"s trade in every sector. China must awake from thinking that US can be convinced by words. Action by China is the key.

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