After nearly a year of debate, the United States’ Commerce Department delivered a final ruling in October in regards to tariffs for Chinese-manufactured solar panels. The Commerce Department, in finding that China has in fact been illegally “dumping” solar products on the American marketplace, will impose 34 – 47% tariffs on about 60 Chinese solar panel manufacturers.
Tariffs rising up to 265% may be imposed on Chinese companies supplying other types of solar products.
Now China has requested a consultation with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to discuss that country’s assertion that some European Union (EU) members have provided subsidies for solar power when the “main components are made in European countries.”
Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement that this type of subsidy “seriously damaged China’s photovoltaic exports.”
While China did not specifically name the countries it is accusing in the WTO filing, the Associated Press said that the official Xinhua News Agency in China had a Commerce Ministry official on record pointing to Italy and Greece as two countries supplying that type of subsidy.
Tomorrow the U.S. International Trade Commission will consider whether or not American jobs in the solar industry have been impaired by Chinese trade practices.
The debate surrounding the Chinese tariff issue has split the U.S. solar industry over the last year. Domestic manufacturers claim that China’s unfair practices have made it impossible for them to compete. Installers and consumer advocacy groups on the other hand have generally found the lower-priced products flowing in from China to be a good thing, since they lower equipment and overall installation costs for consumers.