China announced Monday that it would impose anti-dumping duties on polysilicon imports from the United States used to manufacture solar panels.
The announcement comes about a year after the U.S. trade commission imposed tariffs on solar panels imported from China. The tariffs oridignally resulted after it was determined that government subsidies resulted in an oversupply of the panels and allowed manufacturers to sell them for less than the cost of manufacturing them.
China’s Commerce Ministry said it would begin preliminary anti-subsidy duties of up to 6.5 percent on raw materials used in solar panel production from the United Statesmon Friday.
The duties, while unwelcome, are far lower than the ministry initially threatened. In July, China’s Commerce Ministry threatened to impose tariff of 53.3 to 57 percent on U.S. polysilicon imports.
In the end, only two companies – Hemlock Semiconductor Corp and AE Polysilicon Corp – will be subject to the new duties.
“Subsidies exist and China’s polysilicon industry suffered substantial harm,” according to a statement on the commerce ministry’s website.
The ministry said dumped polysilicon accounted for 36 percent of the polysilicon imported to the country in the first half of 2012, down from 44 percent in 2008.
Domestic polysilicon production is up in China, however, and prices there have plummeted a stunning 92 percent, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Domestic polysilicon production accounted for 37 percent of the raw material used in solar panel production in China last year.
China’s announcement of tariffs on U.S. polysilicon imports is just the latest in a series of trade tiffs the country has engaged with in recent years.
Earlier this summer, the European Union voted not to impose trade tariffs on solar panels imported from China. Critics accused the European trade commission of bending too much to avoid retribution. The EU instead determined a minimum price Chinese manufacturers would be required to charge for the solar panels they exported to European countries.