U.S. Solar Industry Files New Cases Against Dumped and Subsidized Solar Products from China and Taiwan
On Dec. 31, 2013, SolarWorld Industries America Inc., with support from the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) and its more than 240 U.S. employers of more than 22,000 American workers, filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions into imports of solar cells and panels from Taiwan and China. Unfairly traded imports from China and Taiwan have caused staggering injury to the U.S. solar industry.
Why did the U.S. industry file the petitions?
- Since 2010, more than 20 U.S. solar producers have closed their doors.
- Imports of solar cells and panels from China and Taiwan increased by 44 percent from 2010-2012, reaching $2.1 billion in 2012. Despite the last case, subject imports also rose throughout 2013.
- The new cases seek to close a loophole in the scope (or product coverage) of the first solar cases, which concluded in December 2012. In the first solar cases, Commerce improperly decided that Chinese panels with third-country solar cells were out of the scope. As a result, Chinese producers exploited this loophole by using third-country cells, mostly from Taiwan, in panels assembled in China.
- Up to 90 percent of Chinese panels imported into the U.S. market in 2012 contained solar cells from Taiwan (and therefore did not trigger AD/CVD duties).
What do the new cases cover?
- The cases cover solar cells from Taiwan, whether or not assembled into panels, as well as panels assembled in China from Taiwanese cells, or from third-country cells made from Chinese inputs, which are being dumped and subsidized in violation of U.S. and international trade laws.
- Commerce has initiated the new AD investigations on China and Taiwan at margins of 165.04 percent and 75.68 percent, respectively.
- The CVD case covers subsidies that the government of China provides to its solar producers. These producers benefit from a wide range of illegal subsidies, including more than $40 billion in cash grants and preferential loans from state-owned banks; subsidized inputs, such as polysilicon and glass; subsidized land and power; tax exemptions, incentives and rebates; and export assistance credits and export insurance at preferential rates.
What is happening in the U.S. solar market?
- Despite growing U.S. demand, unfair underselling by Chinese and Taiwanese solar products caused U.S. panel prices to collapse by more than 65 percent, and prices remain at unsustainable levels today.
- As noted above, since 2010 more than 20 U.S. producers have closed, and even after preliminary duties were imposed in the first solar cases, seven additional U.S. producers went bankrupt or shut facilities.
- In January 2014, U.S. producer Sharp Corp. announced that it will close its Memphis facility by March 2014, laying off up to 300 workers.
Next steps in the investigations
- Unless Commerce extends its deadlines, it will make a preliminary CVD determination by March and preliminary AD determinations within six months. The ITC will make its preliminary injury determination on Feb. 14, 2014.