The Obama administration, which regularly champions America’s clean energy industry, has delivered modest support for home-grown solar panel makers complaining of unfair competition from China
In a much-anticipated decision, the commerce department on Tuesday said it would impose tariffs of 2.9% to 4.73% on Chinese-made solar panels, after finding the Beijing government was providing illegal subsidies to manufacturers.
The commerce department could impose heavier penalties in May, when it is due to decide whether China is dumping solar panels at prices below their actual cost.
But Tuesday’s move did not suggest the Obama adminstration is willing to risk a trade war with China in support of struggling solar panel manufacturers.
Domestic solar panel makers, who had requested the tariffs, welcomed the decision, saying it had helped expose unfair Chinese trade practices.
“Today’s announcement affirms what US manufacturers have long known: Chinese manufacturers have received unfair and WTO-illegal subsidies,” Steve Ostrenga, an executive who is a member of the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, said in a statement. “We look forward to addressing all of China’s unfair trade practices in the solar industry.”
Solar installation companies, whose business relies on Chinese-made panels, expressed relief that the small tariffs would not drive up costs.
“This is a huge victory for the US solar industry and our 100,000 employees,” said Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy. “Given all our expectations, this is really good news.” read the rest…