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China's solar firms consider response to US probe

  • Staff Reporter
  • 2014-02-05
  • 10:49 (GMT+8)
Solar panels at a solar power station in Zhejiang, Jan. 16. (Photo/Xinhua)

Solar panels at a solar power station in Zhejiang, Jan. 16. (Photo/Xinhua)

After the US Department of Commerce recently initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on imports of silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) products from China and Taiwan, Chinese PV makers plan to jointly discuss countermeasures by focusing first on cutting the scope of products covered by the probe, the Shanghai-based China Business News reports.

The US decision follows petitions by Solar World Industries Americas and the probe could expand the scope of existing tariffs on Chinese PV products to include modules comprising cells made in third-party nations, particularly Taiwan. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) will make preliminary injury determinations on Feb. 14, 2014. If the ITC finds evidence of injury to the US PV industry, the investigations will continue. The commerce department plans to issue a preliminary anti-subsidy ruling in March and a preliminary anti-dumping ruling in June.

The anti-dumping and anti-subsidy disputes with the US come after China last year resolved similar disputes with the European Union, which accused the nation of undercutting European competitors by selling solar panels at below-cost price and threatening 25,000 jobs in the European solar industry.

An unidentified senior executive at Yingli Solar said the probe will expand its scope from that in 2011. In November 2011, the US levied an anti-dumping tax of between 18.32% and 249.96% on PV products imported from China, and an anti-subsidy tax of between 14.78% and 15.97%.

In 2012, the US imported US$2.1 billion of PV products from China and US$510 million from Taiwan.

Chinese PV makers have issued strong protests, with the Yingli executive saying the first step is to reduce the scope of products being investigated.

The US has become the second-largest market for Yingli, with its third-quarter 2013 US shipments taking 27% of its total output, exceeding that to Europe. Yingli's third-quarter shipment to the US rose 39% from a quarter earlier to a record high, the report said.

Jinko Solar's third-quarter 2013 sales rose 11.5% from a year earlier to US$320 million, with net profit of US$16.91 million, up 112% from a year earlier. About 10% of Jinko's production went to North America, becoming one of the firm's three largest markets. Currently, mainland China is the largest market for Jinko, taking about 45% of its total output.

If the US decides to levy anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tax against Chinese PV makers, the latter will have to shift its focus to other export markets as well as expanding the mainland market. China recently announced its goal to install solar power generating capacity of 10 gigawatts in 2014.

Chinese PV exports to Europe have dropped to less than 30% of its total exports from 70% previously, while exports to Japan have accounted for more than 20% of the total, becoming the second-largest export destination for Chinese PV products, experts said.

Who's Who

  • Wen Gang (溫剛)

    Wen Gang (溫剛)

    Wen Gang was appointed general manager of China North Industries Group Corporation in 2014 after serving as deputy general manager from 2003 and 2013....