Chinese solar imports continue decline

Effects of trade case felt

Bill Opalka | Aug 13, 2012

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For the third straight month, imports of Chinese solar cells and panels into the United States decreased year-over-year, according to the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM).

June was the first month in which Chinese manufacturers were fully affected by both preliminary anti-subsidy duties of up to 4.7% on Chinese cells and panels that Commerce announced on March 26, 2012, and preliminary antidumping duties on Chinese solar cell and panel imports ranging from 31 % to 249.9% announced on May 25, 2012.

Chinese solar imports totaled $99.6m in June, down almost 60% from $241.5m in June 2011, according to the Department of Commerce’s “U.S. Imports of Merchandise” database.

Some of the year-on-year decrease is due to sharply falling module prices from 2011 to 2012, June 2012 imports of Chinese solar cells and panels were also down 20% from the previous month’s total of $124.1m.   Between the same two months in 2011, the value of Chinese imports increased 7%.

For the first six months of this year, the total value of Chinese cell and panel imports reached $1.3bn, up from $1.2bn for the same period of 2011, an increase of 7.3%, according to the Commerce data.

Commerce’s ongoing investigations are focused on the actual amount of dumping that occurred during the second and third quarters of 2011, and the amount of unfair subsidies benefiting China’s solar industry in calendar year 2010.

Final margins in both cases, which are scheduled to be announced Oct. 9, could differ.

The value of all global imports decreased in June 2012 compared to the previous year, imports from several countries rose significantly, compared with shipments in June 2011.  These countries include Malaysia ($113.2m, up almost 96% year-on-year), although much of this increase was due to imports by First Solar, a U.S. thin film producer not subject to antidumping and countervailing duties. Imports from Taiwan ($32.4m) and the Philippines ($39.2m) also increased.

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