Josephine V. Yam

U.S. Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Solar Companies

The New York Times reported that the U.S. Commerce Department has determined that Chinese solar manufacturing companies were engaged in the unfair trade practice of "dumping". That is, they were benefiting from unfair government subsidies from the Chinese government and thus, were selling their products in the U.S. below the cost of production. In its determination, the Commerce Department imposed tariffs ranging from 24 - 36 percent on most solar panels imported by the U.S. from China. The tariffs will become effective if and when the International Trade Commission (ITC) decides that the Chinese solar companies have engaged in practices that have actually harmed or threatened to harm the American industry. The ITC decision is expected in November.

A group of U.S. solar manufacturers commenced this trade dispute in 2011, alleging that that Chinese companies were "competing unfairly in the American market". Chinese solar companies have cornered about 66% of the global sales for solar panels. Many solar panel manufacturers in the U.S. and in Europe have closed shop since then. In a similar trade dispute, the European Union recently commenced the world's largest anti-dumping case, involving the importation of Chinese solar panel amounting to $26.5 billion in 2011.