The solar energy trade war between China and the US continues to grow — China will now be imposing anti-dumping import tariffs of up to 57% on solar-grade polysilicon from the US and South Korea, according to a recent announcement from China’s Ministry of Commerce. The import tariffs — which will not affect European polysilicon producers — are scheduled to go into effect on July 24th.
The new tariffs are generally being interpreted as a direct reaction to the decision in 2012 by the US government to impose tariffs of as much as 250% on Chinese PV modules. The US decision in 2012 was itself largely a reaction to the bankruptcies of some US solar panel manufacturers — as a result of falling solar panel prices, as a result of Chinese competition. After that decision by the US, the Chinese government launched an investigation into the alleged anti-dumping of the raw material by US and South Korean producers last year.
Specifically, the Chinese government took issue with “the US’ tax-exemption program for the advanced-energy manufacturing industry” — a program which is backed both by the federal government and by 15 states.
PV Magazine has more information:
Chinese importers of American polysilicon will have to pay duties ranging from 53.3% to 57%, depending on the dumping margin, according to the Commerce Ministry. South Korean imports will face rates ranging from 2.4% to 48.7%.
Norwegian group Renewable Energy Corp’s US units and AE Polysilicon are among the hardest hit producers: REC Solar Grade Silicon and REC Advanced Silicon Materials will receive the highest rates of 57%, as will AE, according to Commerce Ministry information. Hemlock Semiconductor Corp and MEMC (now known as SunEdison) face 53.3% and 53.7% rates, respectively.
While South Korea’s KCC Corp and Korean Advanced Materials will also receive a high rate at 48.7%, the country’s OCI will see the lowest at 2.4%.
Something to note — the new tariffs seem to be aimed specifically at solar-grade polysilicon. Electronic-grade polysilicon — most-commonly utilized in the semiconductor, optics, microelectromechanical systems industries — is completely exempted from the new tariffs.
It’s expected that the new tariffs will “boost” domestic polysilicon producers and raise polysilicon prices in China.