WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2012 — The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that it has found that additional subsidies illegally benefit Chinese producers of solar cell and panel imports into the U.S. market, according to Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM).
As a result of today's announcement, the new anti-subsidy duty rates would be 3.44 percent on Wuxi Suntech and 5.81 percent on Trina Solar. The rate for all other Chinese solar companies also would increase, since the all-others rate is a weighted average of the Trina and Suntech rates.
Commerce investigators today announced that they found the Chinese government illegally supplied electricity to Chinese producers of U.S. solar imports at a discounted rate. This subsidy would increase the duty by 0.44 percent on Suntech and 0.47 percent on Trina. Commerce also found numerous illegal grant programs, which would add another 0.59 percent on Trina and 0.04 percent on Suntech.
As Commerce's final determination approaches on Oct. 9, 2012, its investigators are continuing their probe of the Chinese solar industry's illegal trade practices. Federal specialists are preparing findings on subsidy issues left unaddressed in a preliminary phase, investigating new subsidy issues, and auditing Chinese companies and their U.S. affiliates to verify their claims in the cases. Commerce investigators today began reviewing subsidy information at Suntech headquarters in China.
If the investigators find that additional duties are warranted regarding any of four new or outstanding issues, or if they determine that the Chinese companies have withheld or misrepresented relevant information in their submissions, Commerce will impose additional duty margins on imports produced by the Chinese industry on top of duty margins already announced. Contrary to claims made by Chinese manufacturers and their surrogates, duties have increased substantially between preliminary and final determinations in many anti-subsidy and anti-dumping cases against China.
"Import duties imposed under U.S. and world trade laws are not calculated to punish importers for illegal trade practices," said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., the largest U.S. manufacturer for more than 35 years and the leader of CASM. "Instead, they are meant as a remedy to offset the unfair advantage that those illegal practices provide. Commerce's preliminary determinations of import duty margins are steps in the right direction, but they do not yet reflect all of China's improper and unfair practices. In that light, we appreciate and applaud both today's announcement and the unrelenting work that investigators have yet to do."
SolarWorld and CASM, a consortium of seven domestic solar manufacturers representing more than 210 employers of more than 17,000 workers, contend that the government of China has systematically underwritten its state-sponsored solar industry by providing it with a wide array of illegal, export-specific subsidies, enabling the industry to sell at unfairly low and improperly subsidized prices to seize market share in the U.S. solar marketplace. So far, Commerce has found 12 categories of subsidy programs to be illegal. Commerce also set preliminary anti-dumping duties of between about 31 percent and 250 percent in May.
Commerce has begun conducting formal subsidy audits of the factories of Trina and Suntech in China as well as their U.S. subsidiary business operations, including a small final-assembly unit that Suntech operates in Arizona. If Commerce investigators determine that either company has failed to provide all information that has been requested, has provided information that cannot be confirmed or has otherwise impeded Commerce's investigation, Commerce is permitted to make assumptions adverse to the Chinese manufacturers in its final determinations. Antidumping verifications began in late May, and the verification process will continue through July.
"These investigators have now invested eight months, pored over hundreds of thousands of pages in submissions from both sides and begun traveling to various sites in China and the United States," Brinser said. "All of their efforts will be worthwhile if they succeed in restoring fair, legal and sustainable solar-industry competition, enabling U.S. domestic producers and their work forces to resume growth. It's regrettable that the government of China launched a trade war in early 2009. But with several more months of diligent care, we believe these investigators can end it."
# # #
The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, founded by seven companies that manufacture solar cells and panels in the United States, has more than 210 employers of more than 17,000 workers who have registered their support for CASM's case. The founding manufacturers have plants in nearly every region in the United States, including the Northwest and California, the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast and South and support several thousand U.S. manufacturing jobs. For details about CASM, go to www.americansolarmanufacturing.com; email media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org; other questions or comments may be emailed to email@example.com.
CONTACT: Lauren Simpson