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UPDATE 2-U.S. sets anti-dumping duties on solar imports from China, Taiwan

Fri 25th July, 2014 10:53pm
(Adds SolarWorld comment, background on trade cases, import 
    WASHINGTON, July 25 (Reuters) - The United States on Friday 
set new import duties on solar products from China and Taiwan 
after the Commerce Department found that the solar panels and 
cells are being sold too cheaply on the U.S. market. 
    Preliminary anti-dumping duties as high as 165.04 percent 
for Chinese goods would come on top of anti-subsidy levies 
imposed last month, as the U.S. arm of German solar manufacturer 
SolarWorld AG  SWVKk.DE  seeks to close a loophole allowing 
Chinese producers to sidestep duties imposed in 2012. 
    China's Trina Solar  TSL.N  faces total import duties of 
nearly 30 percent and Suntech Power  STPFQ.PK  nearly 50 percent 
as a result of Friday's decision.  
    Taiwanese producers face anti-dumping duties of up to 44.18 
percent, with the highest rate applying to Motech Industries 
 6244.TWO , Commerce said. There will be no doubling-up of 
duties with those from the 2012 case. 
    The new duties, which must still be confirmed, are likely to 
inflame U.S.-China tensions already exacerbated by recent 
accusations that Chinese military officers were cyber-spying on 
U.S. companies involved in trade disputes, including SolarWorld. 
    SolarWorld said the new duties would average 47 percent for 
most companies, compared with 31 percent in the 2012 case.  
    The company, which makes crystalline silicon solar panels in 
Oregon, complained that Chinese manufacturers dodged those 
duties by shifting production of the cells used to make their 
panels to Taiwan.  
    "Today's actions should help the U.S. solar manufacturing 
industry to expand and innovate," said SolarWorld Industries 
America President Mukesh Dulani. "We should not have to compete 
with dumped imports or the Chinese government."  
    The solar industry has been battered over the last four 
years by a glut of products from China, falling prices and a  
withdrawal of consumer subsidies in Europe, which has pressured 
solar companies' margins and sparked a rash of trade cases. 
    India has slapped levies on panels from the United States 
and China. The European Union also has targeted Chinese panels 
and China has moved against imports of U.S. polysilicon, solar's 
key raw material. 
    Meanwhile, the United States is challenging India's solar 
program at the World Trade Organization. The WTO found 
irregularities in the previous U.S.-China anti-subsidy case. 
    SolarWorld has said it has the support of other U.S. solar 
manufacturers in pushing for a broadening of the duties. 
    But the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, which 
represents about 50 companies that mainly focus on installation, 
has criticized the case and said installers would suffer if 
there was another jump in the cost of modules.  
    U.S. imports of solar products from China were worth $1.5 
billion in 2013, half the level of 2011, while imports from 
Taiwan more than doubled to $657 million over the period,   
according to Commerce data.  
    Commerce will make its final decision by Dec. 15. The U.S. 
International Trade Commission is due to make a decision on 
whether the imports pose or threaten injury to U.S. producers by 
Jan. 29. 
 (Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Paul Simao) 
 ((krista.hughes@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 202 354 5854)(Reuters 
Messaging: krista.hughes.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) 
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