Wind sector trade dispute revs up

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A coalition of U.S. manufacturers of utility scale wind turbine towers is calling for stiff tariffs on towers coming into the U.S. market from China and Vietnam.

The Wind Tower Trade Coalition, in petitions filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, is seeking antidumping investigations into Chinese and Vietnamese imports of the towers and a countervailing duty investigation into Chinese imports of the towers.


The petitions, filed Thursday, assert dumping margins of 64.37 percent for China and 59.11 percent for Vietnam.

The action further fuels the escalating green trade war between the United States and China, coming after a similar filing in October by a coalition of solar panel manufacturers led by Oregon's SolarWorld USA accusing Chinese companies of dumping panels in the U.S. market. China has countered by launching its own investigation on U.S. solar subsidies and incentives.

Earlier this month the ITC bipartisan commission voted 6-0 that there is a "reasonable indication" that Chinese solar cell and module trade practices are detrimental to the U.S. solar manufacturing industry.

WTTC's members include Trinity Structural Towers, DMI Industries, Katana Summit and Broadwind Energy, producing utility scale wind towers in California, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.


The petitions cover only utility scale wind towers with a generating capacity of more than 100 kilowatts and include towers imported partially or those fully assembled. Other wind turbine components, such as imported wind turbines, nacelles or rotor blades, aren't included.

"The Chinese and Vietnamese industries are using unfair pricing practices to capture critical sales from the U.S. industry. As a result, the industry and its workers have been injured by these imports of unfairly-priced imports," said Alan H. Price, a lawyer with Wiley Rein, the firm representing WTTC as well as the coalition of solar panel manufacturers.

Approximately 2,900 utility scale wind turbine towers were installed in 2010.

While not providing exact figures, Price told The New York Times that imports of towers from Vietnam and China roughly doubled this year.

"Antidumping and countervailing duty investigations are powerful tools for U.S. producers that have been injured by unfairly priced imports. A successful outcome in this case will not only benefit U.S. manufacturers but it will save numerous American jobs," said Price.

The ITC's preliminary injury determination is expected in February and the Commerce Department is expected to make its preliminary determinations within six months.

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