US gov't sets stiff tariffs on China solar panels


100 GW
Jan 4, 2007
Wear the fox hat.
US gov't sets stiff tariffs on China solar panels

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press – 38 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration moved Thursday to impose stiff new tariffs on solar panels made in China, finding that Chinese companies are improperly flooding the U.S. market with government-subsidized products.

The Commerce Department said Chinese producers had dumped solar cells and panels in the United States at margins ranging from 31 percent to nearly 250 percent. If the preliminary ruling is upheld, tariffs averaging 31 percent could be imposed on Chinese solar-panel imports.

The tariffs would be in addition to fees ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent imposed in March after the department found that China is improperly subsidizing its solar manufacturers.

The tariffs announced Thursday were higher than expected and could ratchet up trade tensions between the two countries.

Several U.S. solar panel makers, led by Oregon-based SolarWorld, had asked the government to impose steep tariffs on Chinese imports. They are struggling against stiff competition from China as well as weakening demand in Europe and other key markets.

A majority of U.S. solar panel installers oppose tariffs on Chinese panels, arguing that less expensive imports have helped make solar panels more affordable for U.S. customers, just as President Barack Obama and many governors are working to promote renewable energy.

The solar companies also worried that China could retaliate against U.S. companies doing business there, noting that Chinese authorities have announced their own probe into whether U.S. support for renewable energy companies hurts foreign suppliers.

"This is the first step to a trade war between the U.S. and China," said Jigar Shah, leader of a coalition of solar companies that oppose U.S. tariffs.

The Commerce Department decision will increase solar electricity prices in the United States "precisely at the moment solar power is becoming competitive with fossil-fuel-generated electricity," said Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy.

Members of the coalition include California-based SunEdison, Recurrent Energy, SolarCity and Westinghouse Solar, as well as China-based Suntech Power Holdings Co., one of the companies affected by the Commerce case.

SolarWorld president Gordon Brinser said the Commerce Department merely confirmed that Chinese manufacturers have illegally dumped solar cells and panels in the U.S. market, giving their products an unfair advantage.

The ruling "will re-establish a natural balance in pricing that does need to occur in the global marketplace," Brinser said, adding that the U.S. solar market has been "distorted" by cheap Chinese imports.

SolarWorld Industries America Inc., a subsidiary of Germany's SolarWorld AG, is the largest U.S. maker of silicon solar cells and panels. The company was joined by six other manufacturers, including Wisconsin-based Helios Solar Works, in filing the unfair trade complaint.

Brinser, of SolarWorld, said "doomsday" predictions by Shah and other critics that U.S. tariffs will lead to the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs were overstated.

Solar power is growing rapidly in the United States, Brinser said, adding that demand for solar panels will continue to rise as states set standards for renewable energy and consumers see benefits from solar power.

Commerce also granted SolarWorld's request for a finding of "critical circumstances" to counter a recent flood of Chinese imports into the U.S. market ahead of the widely anticipated decision. As a result, preliminary dumping tariffs will be imposed retroactively 90 days from the date the decision is published in the Federal Register.
We will not let our industries be out-subsidized!
The sad part is the panels are the cheap part of the install. The installers , mounts inverters,ect. makeup 2/3 the cost of the install. Too many regulations put in place.
Typical government idiocy. If you want to help domestic panel makers as well as help grow the industry, both good ideas in my view, then stimulate the business with large tax credits on domestically produced installations. Taxes, tariffs, penalties, etc are never the answer, because they only serve to increase the cost to the end user. Instead offer incentives in the direction you want, which stimulates growth and jobs. The idiot panel makers are probably in favor of the tariffs, which demonstrates their lack of economic understanding that is a big part of why they can't compete to begin with.

All the government has to do is tax ALL foreign imports to the U.S. at the same rates other countries set on American goods.. Makes sense right?

Watch how fast industry moves back to the U.S. along with the jobs when this happens. It will happen someday in my opinion.

They could do that, but they could no longer hide the effects of devaluing the dollar since the 1970's.
Prices for things are rising slowly but now we can't afford anything made in the USA anymore.
That would be an extreme shock to our system.

Our federal govt would rather keep the wool over your eyes about the dollar and keep on printin'.

You guys know what Smoot Hawley was? A lot of people place blame for the end of the 'Hoover Recovery' and the deeping of the Great Deprecession on a new tariff that was intended to protect American industry and provide the Goverment with pocket money while there were fewer taxpayers. At that time there was so little foreign trade that the damage was small, but it definitely backfired. For one thing, Hoover had called all these business leaders to a summit in the Poconos where they were convinced to NOT cut prices to compete in the market. Among the unforseen consequences was the rebirth of Japanese industry, dormant since WWI ended, which was STILL cheaper than American products when the better quality European manufacturing was priced out of the market. You know what Japan did with the profits, right?

I will say it's hard to to compare that time to now. But every time the U.S. has tried this, it's gone badly. . . .

the fact that the US cannot recognize the legitimate interest the chinese have in dominating the world's solar panel production is essentially an obfuscation of reality.

there is not a single social program more benificial to more people, in china, than anywhere else in the world. and because of this they have cut the prices so low that the poorist of the poor in the most remote and unservicable locations now have solar powered communications and lighting.

what do we subsidize with tax breaks for something we should not be even producing? biodiesel!!

something nobody who knows diesels will buy and is only enforced by the management doing their level best to be eco conscious even though they really are totally brain dead humans caught in the political machine.

and then the 15% mandate for ethanol in our cars. our cars do not need oxygen enhanced sources to run lean because they all have fuel injection to maintain lean burning and antiknock feedback. a billion people starving, and we burn corn so the fat cars can go to the ..........

how can al quaeda not be more popular than joe sixpack.

traditionally the south of china never even had heating installed in house when they are built. because they don't need it. the guvment subsidized the introduction of solar hot water heaters. for hundreds of millions of people the current chinese policy of promoting the development of fundamental industry has benefited far more people than our system of domination of them.

the corn lobby is a small group of people compared to hundreds of millions. the republican will maintain the subsidies for farmers but mainly large industrial processor of corn like cargill, and let everyone else eat cake.
I ran homebrewed biodiesel for years in the old Mercedes and it worked great.

Did it in this way out in the yard.

My wife and I invented this.

Got the used veggie oil from a 55 gal drum behind the local pub.

It caught on in OZ but not in the USA.

The OZ kids loved the cpp. :) The USA kids thought it was crazy not using electric power to make biodiesel. :)