Department of Commerce Proposes New Solar Tariff on Chinese Panels

05 January 2015 Renewable Energy Outlook Blog

On January 2, 2015, the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) announced its preliminary decision regarding crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules, from the People’s Republic of China (“Chinese solar cells”). The decision relates to an administrative review by the DOC of Chinese solar cells imported from May 25, 2012 through November 30, 2013. The original antidumping case was brought by SolarWorld Americas Inc., a German-owned, Oregon-based company, as well as various exporters and U.S. importers. This administrative review covers two mandatory respondents, Yingli Energy Company Limited (“Yingli”) and Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. (“Wuxi Suntech”).

In determining what rates would apply to Yingli and Wuxi Suntech, the DOC first preliminarily determined that while Yingli would be eligible for its own separate rate, Wuxi Suntech would not be eligible for its own separate rate, and thus would be given the “China-wide” rate, that is, the rate given to all Chinese companies who were not mandatory respondents and either failed to apply or unsuccessfully applied for a separate rate. The DOC based its Wuxi Suntech decision on its determination that Wuxi Suntech is sufficiently controlled by the Chinese government, such that the Chinese government either controls or has the potential to control Wuxi Suntech.    

 The DOC’s preliminary antidumping margins were drastically different for Yingli and those companies receiving a separate rate, than for those companies receiving the “China-wide” rate. Yingli and the separate rate companies received an antidumping margin of only 1.82%. On the other hand, the “China-wide” rate, given to Wuxi Suntech and those companies who were not mandatory respondents and either failed to apply or unsuccessfully applied for a separate rate, was 238.56%.

On January 2, 2015, the DOC also announced its preliminary countervailing duty decision regarding Chinese solar cells. In this countervailing duty administrative review, the mandatory respondents were Lightway Green New Energy Co., Ltd. (“Lightway”) and Shanghai BYD Co. Ltd. (“Shanghai BYD”) and its cross-owned affiliates. Unlike in the antidumping administrative review, here both mandatory respondents were given their own separate rates, apart from the remaining countries subject to review. Lightway was given a 22.73% margin, Shanghai BYD was given a 8.63% margin, and the remaining companies subject to review were given a 15.68% margin, based on a weighted average of the subsidy rates calculated for Lightway and Shanghai BYD. 

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