Commerce Department Announces New Duties on Chinese Solar Panel Imports
The U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) published its final affirmative antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) determinations on October 17, 2012, imposing new duties on Chinese solar panel producers and exporters. Commerce determined that Chinese producers/exporters sold solar photovoltaic cells in the United States at dumping margins ranging from 18.32 to 249.96 percent, and that Chinese producers/exporters have received countervailable subsidies of 14.78 to 15.97 percent.
Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product into the United States at less than fair value prices. Countervailable subsidization occurs when a governmental authority directly or indirectly conveys benefits that support production by specific companies or sectors, or are contingent upon export performance or the use of domestic goods over imported goods.
As a result of its determinations, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits or bonds equal to these margins on imports. The cash deposit rates, however, will be reduced by 10.54 percent, the export subsidy rate. Additionally, Commerce found that “critical circumstances” exist in the CVD investigation for all companies and in the AD investigation for all companies except one, Wuxi Suntech. As a result, provisional duty deposits, which are normally collected as of the date of publication of Commerce’s preliminary determinations, will be collected 90 days prior to that date (except in the case of AD duty deposits for Wuxi Suntech).
For the early duty deposit collection to be maintained and the AD/CVD duties to stand, the International Trade Commission (ITC) must make an affirmative final determination that dumped and subsidized imports of solar cells from China “materially injure, or threaten material injury to,” the domestic solar panel industry. If the ITC makes a negative final injury determination, the investigations will be terminated and the duties will not be imposed. The ITC has tentatively scheduled its final determination vote for November 7, 2012.
William Friedman, associate in McDermott’s Energy Advisory practice, contributed to this article.