China rejects US solar tariffs as protectionism
By Joe McDonald, AP
October 12, 2012, 1:56 pm TWN
BEIJING -- China demanded Thursday that Washington repeal steep tariffs on solar panels that Chinese producers fear will shut their equipment out of the American market.
The tariffs upheld Wednesday by the U.S. Commerce Department add to financial pressure on struggling Chinese solar panel manufacturers that are suffering heavy losses due to weak demand and a price-cutting war.
"The United States is inciting trade friction in new energy and sending a negative signal to the whole world about protectionism and obstructing the development of new energy development," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement. It gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate.
"We hope the U.S. side will correct its erroneous action with early termination of the trade remedy measures," Shen said.
The Commerce Department upheld charges of 18 percent to nearly 250 percent on Chinese solar panel producers to counter what it said was improper subsidies by Beijing to the industry. For some companies, charges are lower than preliminary tariffs announced in May.
A spokesman for one of China's biggest panel producers, Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., said tariffs of about 30 percent imposed on that company would make sales to the United States unprofitable. He said gross profit margins in the solar industry are about 10 percent.