U.S. orders tariffs on Chinese solar panels

The U.S. Department of Commerce has ordered tariffs of 31 percent and higher on solar panels imported from China, according to the Los Angeles Times. The tariffs were ordered after the department's preliminary finding that Chinese solar panel manufacturers "dumped" their goods—sold them at below fair-market value.

If the ruling is affirmed by U.S. trade officials, it is expected to significantly affect the solar industry and its growth in the U.S. The global production of solar cells largely takes place in China, and the U.S. employs about 100,000 people in the solar energy industry.

More than 60 Chinese firms, including the world's largest solar panel manufacturer, could face a 31 percent tariff on exports to the U.S. All other Chinese exporters of solar cells could face a 250 percent tariff.

Although U.S. solar panel manufacturers praise the tariffs as an important victory for American jobs, U.S. firms that develop and install solar projects disapprove, saying it could lead to a trade war with China and slow or halt the momentum of solar installations in the U.S.

During the past few years, China has taken about half the U.S. market for solar panels. U.S. imports of Chinese solar cells, which are the primary component in solar panels, were valued at about $3.1 billion in 2011 compared with $640 million in 2009.

Date : 5/23/2012