WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 19, 2012 — U.S. imports of illegally subsidized and dumped solar cells and panels from the People's Republic of China have decreased for six months straight through September, compared with the same corresponding months of 2011, according to the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM). Chinese imports of solar power cells and panels totaled $112.7 million in September, a 55 percent drop from $249.7 million in September 2011, according to the Department of Commerce's "U.S. Imports of Merchandise" database.
Since the countervailing duty orders went into effect in March 2012, Chinese solar imports totaled $757 million, down from $1.6 billion for the same period of 2011, according to the import data. This comparison represents a 52 percent decline from the prior-year period.
The data show two trends, according to CASM. First, they confirm a sequential drop in imports that began in March, when Commerce issued the first of its four rulings affirming import duties were warranted to offset illegal Chinese subsidies and dumped pricing. (See attached graphic.) Second, according to CASM, the data confirm a disastrous price collapse caused by China's state-underwritten export campaign, its sponsorship of massive Chinese production overcapacity and its dumped pricing.
Commerce is preparing to transmit final orders in the cases that will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect import duties of about 31 percent for many of the biggest Chinese producers and up to more than 250 percent for some others.
"Participants in the U.S. solar industry are prudently heeding the risks and uncertainties that go along with purchasing dumped and subsidized Chinese solar imports," said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., petitioner in the trade cases and leader of CASM. "They also understand that with the final orders being put in place, importers may be on the hook for even higher duties for product coming into the market over coming months."
Commerce calculated the duties by comparing Chinese producers' actual U.S. market pricing and their market-economy-equivalent production costs from 2011. However, Chinese imports entering after November 2012 will be subject to Commerce's future administrative review of prices and costs. If Chinese pricing is found to have fallen faster than costs, which appears likely, then Commerce could adjust duty percentages higher – and, potentially, significantly higher, according to CASM.
CASM backed SolarWorld in filing its trade cases in October 2011 to counter Chinese trade practices that have costs thousands of jobs with U.S. manufacturers and their suppliers as well as distorted the U.S. solar markets to such a degree that even Chinese solar producers are suffering severe financial damage, according to the coalition. However, the government of China and its divisions have begun to come to their rescue, partly by taking ownership positions in them, CASM said.
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The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, founded by seven companies that manufacture solar cells and panels in the United States, has 227 employers of more than 18,000 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 http://www.americansolarmanufacturing.org; email media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org; other questions or comments may be emailed to email@example.com
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