US duties on solar products will cause 'serious harm': China

Solar energy is becoming financially viable, an industry player has asserted (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Solar energy is becoming financially viable, an industry player has asserted (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Beijing - A US trade panel's move to impose import duties on solar products made in China and Taiwan will cause "serious harm", Beijing said on Thursday, warning of the decision's global repercussions.

The statement from China's Commerce Ministry came one day after the US International Trade Commission paved the way for duty orders on imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products, saying that they were being dumped and unfairly subsidised.

"The US side's findings ignore the facts and legal regulations," China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement posted on its website, calling the move "a breach by the US of its obligation to comply with World Trade Organisation rules."

"The abuse by the United States of trade remedy measures causes serious harm to Chinese companies as well as to the interests of US consumers and industry," the Commerce Ministry said.

It added that China "will consider working within the WTO framework as well as the American judicial system to exercise its rights and protect its own interests".

The ITC decision came a year after the US Commerce Department launched the probes on imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China and Taiwan, another round in trade conflicts between the world's two largest economies.

At issue are imports of products that include crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell, module and panels, imported as separate components or integrated with other products.

The value of the solar product imports under investigation was more than $2.1bn in 2013, with an estimated $1.5bn in imports from China and $656.8 million from Taiwan, according to the Commerce Department.

Import duties

The probe was requested by a large US solar manufacturer, SolarWorld Industries America, of Hillsboro, Oregon, a unit of German solar giant SolarWorld AG.

In its statement, China's Commerce Ministry argued that the move would "hinder further co-operation as well as the development of the new energy industry in the US and around the world."

The Chinese government expresses "serious concern" over the decision and "urges the US to strictly abide by international rules," it said.

Also on Wednesday, the US Commerce Department said it would set large import duties on car and light-truck tires made in China, saying producers were dumping them into the US market.

Most of the dozens of companies affected by the ruling will face duties of 27.72%.

China's Commerce Ministry did not immediately respond to the announcement.

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