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US solar imports probed

By Li Jiabao (China Daily)

09:39, July 21, 2012

Trade frictions between two major economies may increase: Analysts

China is launching an investigation into imported US polysilicon used in solar panels, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Friday.

The probe relates to anti-subsidy and anti-dumping regulations, experts said, and will be seen as the latest sign of intensified trade frictions between the world's top two economies.

According to its website, the ministry is also launching an anti-dumping probe on South Korean imports of polysilicon.

The ministry launched the investigations following complaints on July 2 from some domestic manufacturers, who claim they are being driven out of business because of the unfair US practices.

The investigation is scheduled to conclude on July 20, 2013 but is subject to an extension to Jan 20, 2014, the statement said.

"The ministry's move is in response to the US anti-dumping and countervailing investigations into Chinese solar panels," said Yao Weiqun, associate president of Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center.

In a preliminary ruling in May, the US Department of Commerce imposed anti-dumping tariffs ranging from 31.14 percent to 249.96 percent on imported solar panels from China after it had imposed countervailing duties — also known as anti-subsidy duties — of 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent on Chinese panels in March.

The United States claimed that China carried out unfair trade practices by flooding the US market with government-subsidized products.

"China's counterattack will influence the final ruling of the US investigations into Chinese solar products, but it's hard to tell whether the influence is positive or negative," Yao added.

The US Department of Commerce is scheduled to make a final ruling on its investigation into Chinese solar products in early October and the US International Trade Commission is expected to make a final decision in the case in late November.

Tu Xinquan, associate director of the China National Institute of WTO at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, agreed that China's probe is in response to the US investigation into Chinese solar products.

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