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Insight: Solar panel tariffs put Sino-U.S. trade under destructive risks

(Xinhua)

08:22, March 23, 2012

NANJING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- A recent U.S. decision to impose import duties on solar panels made in China is "mutually destructive," cutting profits for Chinese manufacturers and eliminating job opportunities in the United States, according to China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

The decision will not only harm the interests of both sides in the photovoltaic (PV) industry, but also harm the U.S. clean energy industry and jeopardize bilateral cooperation in new energy, according to a post on the official website of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Thursday, which cited senior officials from the Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports under the MOC.

"China urges the U.S. to consider the bigger picture of long-term bilateral cooperation and prudently handle trade frictions," the post said.

The MOC's reaction came after the U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday announced the results of a preliminary investigation into Chinese solar panel makers, finding that the companies have received government subsidies of 2.9 to 4.73 percent. The department subsequently decided to levy tariffs of equal size on imports of Chinese solar panels.

As a result, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. and Trina Solar Limited, two prominent solar panel producers in China, will face countervailing duties (CVD) of 2.9 percent and 4.73 percent respectively.

"Unilateral trade barriers, large or small, will further delay our transition away from fossil fuels at a time when the majority of Americans demand cleaner and more secure energy," said Andrew Beebe, Suntech's chief commercial officer.

The U.S. government's tariffs are lower than the previously expected 10 percent, which gave a boost to both companies' stocks during Tuesday's trading.

Suntech's share price rose 14.06 percent and closed at 3.57 U.S. dollars per share, while that of Trina Solar increased 7.85 percent to close at 8.38 U.S. dollars on the New York Stock Exchange.

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