US solar industry fears Chinese retaliation

A decision on whether to impose anti-dumping measures on Chinese solar manufacturers is expected to be made shortly by the US Department of Commerce.

The US solar-power industry is anxiously awaiting the decision as part of an investigation into accusations that Chinese solar-panel makers receive unfair government subsidies and sell their products in the U.S. at prices below the cost of production.

Solar panels
Seven US solar firms brought the complaint to the Commerce Department in 2011 and filed a similar complaint with the International Trade Commission, which has been conducting a separate investigation.

The market turmoil caused by a glut of manufacturing capacity, particularly from China has forced several solar-panel makers out of business.

China's Ministry of Commerce has criticized the U.S. investigations, causing US firms who sell into the Chinese solar market to worry that Beijing will retaliate with tariffs on US products.

Chinese firms supplied 46 per cent of global shipments of solar cells and panels in 2011, or more than 10,800 MW, while US suppliers shipped about 3 per cent, or about 780 MW, according to research by Paula Mints, an analyst at Navigant Consulting.

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