China's wind towers face U.S. tariffs

Dec. 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM
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BEIJING, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Officials in China's wind energy sector said they deplored a U.S. decision to increase import duties on Chinese wind turbines.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in its final verdict Wednesday on anti-dumping and counter-subsidy duties against wind turbine towers imported from China and Vietnam, said that Chinese producers dumped towers in the United States and set anti-dumping duties of 44.99-70.63 percent while Vietnamese producers got duties 51.50-58.49 percent.

Commerce's investigation follows a complaint filed in December 2011 by the Wind Tower Trade Coalition, a coalition of U.S. producers of utility scale wind towers.

Last month, the United States imposed steep anti-dumping and countervailing duties on solar panel imports from China and the European Union announced that it would investigate alleged state subsidies for Chinese solar panel manufacturers.

"The duties are unreasonable and unfair to us," Zheng Kangsheng, board secretary of Titan Wind Energy (Suzhou) Co, told China's state-run Global Times. "We have never dumped our products in the U.S. at prices below cost and as a private company, we have never received government subsidies."

Zheng maintains there was a surge in demand for wind towers from the company's U.S. clients this year because of a wind turbine construction spree in the country ahead of the U.S. policy to support wind energy set to expire by the end of the year.

"The additional U.S. duties will force us to explore other markets such as European and Asia-Pacific countries," Zheng said, adding that the company acquired a Danish wind power company in September and will set up a factory in India by 2013 to mitigate losses from expected sales declines in the United States.

In 2011, imports of utility-scale wind towers from China and Vietnam were valued at $222 million and $79 million, respectively, says the International Trade Administration.

"Over the last two years, in a period of peak demand, the U.S. industry should have been profitable," said Alan H. Price of Wiley Rein, the law firm for the WTTC, in a release Wednesday.

"Instead, due to the surge in dumped and subsidized imports, the industry lost market share and saw its profits collapse."

The Global Times report also says that China's Ministry of Commerce expressed concern Wednesday regarding the U.S. decision and urged the United States to engage in talks with China to resolve the dispute.

"The latest U.S. decision is meant to defer the development of Chinese renewable energies and force U.S. importers to pay a higher cost for towers and their consumers to pay higher electricity charges due to the technical and management of failures of some U.S. wind power companies," said Zhang Ping, head of the China Renewable Energy Industry Association.

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