U.S. slaps hefty duties on solar goods from China, Taiwan

Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:50am EST
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By Krista Hughes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday confirmed steep import duties on solar products from China and Taiwan, in a decision that could inflame trade tensions between the two countries.

Anti-dumping duties for Chinese goods were set as high as 165.04 percent as the U.S. arm of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld AG (SWVKk.DE: Quote) seeks to close a loophole that let Chinese producers sidestep duties imposed in 2012.

Taiwan producers face anti-dumping duties as high as 27.55 percent, according to the final Commerce decision, which SolarWorld said raised average duties for Chinese producers but cut them for Taiwan. Producers in China face separate anti-subsidy duties.

"These remedies come just in time to enable the domestic industry to return to conditions of fair trade," said SolarWorld Industries America President Mukesh Dulani.

The move is set to deal a heavy blow to China and Taiwan's solar panel shipment to the U.S. market, Chinese solar industry officials say.

Shares of Chinese solar panel manufacturers, such as Hareon Solar (600401.SS: Quote) and Shunfeng International (1165.HK: Quote), fell more than 2 percent on Wednesday, underperforming broader markets.

Readying for the decision, some Chinese firms have been preparing to set up factories overseas to sidestep the duties.

"In the next few months, we are expected to see some changes in the industry. Some companies will set up plants in southeast Asia or south America," said Jessica Jin, solar analyst at IHS in Shanghai.   Continued...

A worker inspects solar panels at a solar farm in Dunhuang, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province September 16, 2013.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria