22 October 2018
US plans to levy higher tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Photo: Bloomberg
US plans to levy higher tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Photo: Bloomberg

US plans fresh tariffs on Chinese solar panels

In a move that could escalate a trade row between the world’s top two economies, the United States plans to impose additional import duties of up to 35.2 percent on Chinese-made solar panels.

The US Department of Commerce announced the decision Tuesday after a preliminary investigation found that photovoltaic solar components imported from China were being subsidized in a way that damaged US-based manufacturers, Financial Times reported.

The new duties are much higher than the rates announced in a first round in March 2012 and with a broader scope, covering both assembled solar panels and the cells used to make them, the report said. 

The US probe followed a complaint from SolarWorld, which had argued that Chinese exporters were getting round the earlier tariffs by outsourcing the manufacture of cells to other countries, particularly Taiwan, and then assembling them into panels in China.

The rates of the new tariffs vary for products from different Chinese companies. The tariff will be 18.6 percent for Trina Solar, 35.2 percent for Suntech Power and 26.9 percent for all other Chinese manufacturers and exporters, according to the report.

The duties are scheduled to be confirmed by the Commerce Department on or around August 18, and will then be reviewed for about 45 days by the US International Trade Commission until a final decision is made in early October.

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