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Probe launched into polysilicon imports

By Li Jiabao and Du Juan (China Daily)

08:15, November 27, 2012

(File Photo)

China launched an investigation on Monday to determine whether retroactive duties should be levied on imported solar-grade polysilicon from the United States, South Korea and the European Union.

One analyst described the decision as signifying an intensifying trade war in the solar industry.

The investigation comes after complaints lodged by domestic producers of solar-grade polysilicon.

The Ministry of Commerce is also to determine whether to levy anti-subsidy duties retroactively on the material from the US and the EU, according to a statement on its website.

Solar-grade polysilicon is the main ingredient for solar panels and modules. The ministry launched a trade investigation in July into solar-grade polysilicon from the US and South Korea, two of the world's biggest producers, after the US levied stiff anti-dumping tariffs and countervailing duties earlier this year on solar cells made in China.

The EU followed suit by launching the bloc's biggest anti-dumping investigation in September into solar panels from China. This, in turn, prompted the Ministry of Commerce to start an investigation into EU-made solar-grade polysilicon in November.

Zhou Shijian, a senior trade expert at Tsinghua University, said: "China is not willingly making the move, but it's the only countermeasure that the Chinese government can take when the US insists on the hefty tariffs, and when negotiations with the EU did not solve the dispute.

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