CASM Appeals Alleged Loopholes In Chinese Solar Tariff Decisions


The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) has filed new appeals in recent trade cases to counter what it has described as illegal Chinese trade practices.

According to the CASM, which is led by SolarWorld, one of these appeals challenges a loophole in the scope of the U.S. trade remedies that allows Chinese producers to ‘evade duties and continue to benefit from illegal, export-intensive subsidies and dump product into the U.S. market.’

In late 2012, after the U.S. Department of Commerce's (DOC) year-long investigation found illegal Chinese subsidization and pricing, the department imposed import duties ranging from 24% up to more than 250% on solar imports of crystalline silicon solar technology made in China.

But because the DOC's final orders excluded panels assembled in China from cells produced elsewhere, Chinese producers can grow silicon crystal, slice that crystal into solar wafers, outsource conversion of those wafers into cells to Taiwan or elsewhere, and then bring them back for assembly into panels for export to the U.S. market without tariffs, the CASM says.

Therefore, the CASM has now filed documents with the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York to challenge the DOC's formulation of the cases' scope to cover all solar cells and panels manufactured in China, but not cells manufactured elsewhere and assembled into panels in China.

From the 2011 outset of its trade cases, the CASM's scope covered both cells and panels; however, the DOC curtailed it, the coalition says.

‘With our cases, the U.S. government went a long way in investigating and attempting to halt the anti-competitive and destructive impacts of China's illegal trade practices on America's domestic solar industry,’ says Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc. ‘Now we are looking to finish the job.’

In addition, the CASM has filed appeals to challenge the DOC's decision not to investigate Chinese subsidies on aluminum extrusions and rolled glass, as well as the department's decision to grant separate, lower duty rates for several large Chinese companies such as Trina Solar, Hanwha SolarOne, Chint Solar and JA Solar.

According to the CASM, these Chinese companies should not have qualified for such rates because the companies failed to provide sufficient evidence that they were not ultimately owned or controlled by the Chinese government.

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