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Chinese manufacturers and US buyers unhappy with US new tariffs on China solar panels

03-23-2012 09:41 BJT

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Chinese manufacturers and US buyers of solar panels are reacting to this week's decision by the US Commerce Department to impose new tariffs on solar panels made in China. It’s the latest anti-dumping case between the two countries. Although the announced import duty on the panels is under five percent, which is much less than expected, both buyers and sellers say they’re unhappy.

This solar panel maker is based in neighboring Jiangsu Province. It is one of 50 domestic and foreign solar panel exhibitors at this ongoing high-tech trade fair in Pudong. The boss says his company relies heavily on exports.

Chen Jun with Suntech Energy Engineering said: "90 percent of our solar panels are exported overseas. The United States is our second largest market, after Europe. 30 percent to the US, 50 percent to Europe."

And Chen says that’s the situation for most of the Chinese manufacturers. He didn’t want to talk about the new tariff on camera, but did say he was disappointed with the US decision. At the same time, manufacturers like Chen say the new tariff is too small to affect their business. The US Commerce Department says Chinese solar panel makers have been getting government subsidies of between 2.9 percent and 4.73 percent. So the department said it’s adding the same amount of tariffs to Chinese panels imported into the US.

That has also annoyed some American buyers.

Ronald Mueller with Alternate Energy Shop said: "The Chinese government is subsidizing some of the solar manufacturers in terms of technology, in terms of labor, in terms of many things, that the United State’s government is not. So that’s not dumping, that’s subsidizing to grow an industry market segment. I think there should not be a tariff."

And because of all those benefits, one US company at the fair says it’s considering moving its manufacturing here.

Keith Cheung with Nuvosun said: "We want to open a new subsidiary in Shanghai. Although there is this new tariff, it’s really nothing, compared with all the government subsidies and low costs here."

Chinese-made solar panels sell for about 15 percent less than US-made panels. And imports of solar panels from China hit 2.8 billion US dollars in 2011, up sharply from about 1.2 billion dollars just a year earlier. Yesterday’s US tariff announcement is just a preliminary decision. The added duty will only take effect when the US International Trade Commission, which is an independent government panel, finds that the imports are actually harming US producers.

 

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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