The vote has occurred. There was a 6-0 vote on the preliminary decision of reasonable indication of injury or threat of injury. The case now moves on to the Department of Commerce.
CASM notes the "support of 59 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for CASM's trade case against China's unfair trading practices in the solar industry. They sent the letter this morning to President Barack Obama to endorse the Coalition's petitions for anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese solar imports."
The photovoltaic trade issue initiated by the SolarWorld-led Coalition of American Solar Manufacturers (CASM) claiming that Chinese manufacturers are dumping PV panels on U.S. shores and that China is providing unfair subsidies to its own solar industry is, to say the least, a contentious issue.
According to CASM, "Our coalition is challenging systematic, massive and ever-escalating forms of trade and subsidies that are quite simply illegal, unacceptable and anti-competitive."
According to installers and financiers like SolarCity's CEO Lyndon Rive, the tax on solar panels could reverse the adoption rates on solar in the U.S. and thwart the strong jobs and economic growth in the U.S. solar market.
Today, we get to hear the first official decison when the ITC votes on “injury." The meeting starts at starts at 8 AM eastern time and we will post the results as soon as they're available.
Maxim's Aaron Chew states that the action by SolarWorld to save domestic solar manufacturing is an "effort to help the few" which "may yield collateral damage to many."
Chew expects the tariff to:
- have minimal impact on domestic producers, as Chinese circumvention may yield only a 10 percent price hike
- lead to a retaliatory tariff on U.S. exports, posing a threat to domestic poly/equipment producers
- lead to uncertainty and price increases that could restrain domestic demand and exacerbate the overcapacity afflicting the solar industry
Chew goes on to say, "Based on the precedence of trade law, we believe it is very likely that a small, initial tariff will be set on Jan. 15, 2012, followed by a larger one in 2Q12." He also sees the Chinese able to circumvent the tariff by "tolling cells and modules at a minimal cost," suggesting a price hike of only ~10 percent.
This could be a "modest positive for non-Chinese producers like SunPower and First Solar, as well as a strong boost to Taiwanese and Japanese solar manufacturers in 2012.
We will provide the details on the decision and some more analysis as the news breaks today. Stay tuned to this station.
Here are links to our coverage:
- We covered the initial CASM announcement here and here.
- We published a primer on the mechanics of the way these cases are handled by the ITA here.
- Statements from a variety of Chinese PV panel manufacturers were compiled here.
- Here is President Obama voicing his administration's leanings on this matter.
- We published a statement by CPIA, the Chinese Photovoltaic Industry Association, in which they make a claim that American firms are guilty of dumping polysilicon on China's shores. CPIA is alleged to be led by LDK and GCL Poly. Another claim is being made about unfair American subsidies, as well.
- CASE tried to encourage a spirit of de-escalation amongst CASM and CPIA here.