The US Department of Commerce has imposed new tariff duties of up to 165.04% on crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar imports from China and Taiwan, after it found panels were being sold too cheaply to the US market.

The preliminary tariffs were given after SolarWorld, a German solar manufacturer with operations in the USA, claimed Chinese manufacturers were avoiding paying duties by producing solar cells in Taiwan.

China’s Trina Solar faces the lowest duty of 26.33% for its products, while Rensola/Jinko received a duty of 58.87%.

A list of 42 other Chinese exporters, including Canadian Solar International and Hainan Yingli New Energy Resources, were given a rate of 42.33%. The highest rates, of 165.04%, were reserved for the companies that did not co-operate with the investigation.

Under the preliminary ruling, Taiwanese producers will face anti-dumping duties of up to 44.18%.

China’s Commerce Ministry criticised the decision on Monday, warning that it will ultimately hurt the downstream solar industries.

“Frequent trade remedy measures taken by the US [solar] industry cannot solve their own development problems. [we] hope the US cautiously handles the investigation and ends the investigation procedures as soon as possible to create a good environment to promote competition in the global [solar] industry,” a spokesman for the Chinese Department of Commerce said.

The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) also criticised the US decision, and said the duties would hinder the deployment of renewable energy by raising the prices of solar products. 

In 2013, the US imported crystalline silicon photovoltaic solar products worth $1.5 billion from China and $656.8 million from Taiwan, according to US data.

The US Department of Commerce will make its final decision on the duties by December this year, and the US International Trade Commission will make a final ruling on the move by next January.  

See also:
USA set to impose new tariffs up to 35% on Chinese solar products

Chloe Smith
Twitter: @ChloeSmith_MB