China to investigate U.S., South Korean solar materials imports

Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:23am EDT
 
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By Michael Martina and Leonora Walet

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - China will open investigations into imported U.S. and South Korean solar-grade polysilicon, the country's trade ministry said on Friday, in the latest instance of growing tensions between major solar manufacturers.

The Ministry of Commerce said that it would open anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes on U.S. imported polysilicon, as well as an anti-dumping probe on South Korean imports of the raw materials used to make solar products.

The ministry issued the decisions in two statements on its website, citing preliminary evidence from several companies -- GCL Poly-Energy Holdings, LDK Solar, and Daqo New Energy.

Chinese officials have threatened to impose trade duties on U.S. shipments of polysilicon if the U.S. moved to penalize Chinese solar companies.

Western solar companies have been at odds with their Chinese counterparts for years, alleging they receive lavish credit lines to offer modules at cheaper prices, while European players struggle to refinance.

China's move came a day after Germany's Environment Minister Peter Altmaier gave backing to German companies' efforts to launch anti-dumping proceedings in Europe. Germany is the world's largest solar market.

"I can tell you that I will support (Germany's solar companies)," Altmaier told German broadcaster ZDF. German firm SolarWorld has led calls for action against Asian cell and module makers.

Early this year, the United States put two new import duties totaling about 35 percent on solar equipment from China, citing the country's unfair support of its industry and illegal dumping of inventories in the U.S. market.   Continued...