Canada cements tariffs on Chinese Solar PV modules, By Karl-Erik Stromsta Recharge News in New York,, July 06 2015
Canada has become the latest country to finalise duties on China-made PV cells and modules, with the tariffs set to remain in place for five years following a formal investigation into the practices of China’s solar giants.
The ruling covers most types of PV modules, including those based on crystalline silicon and thin-film technologies.
Earlier this year Canadian border authorities determined that Chinese PV manufacturers had dumped subsidized product into the Canadian market.
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) then found “reasonable indication” that those practices were harming – or at least threatened to harm – Canadian solar companies.
The CITT is an independent, quasi-judicial that reports to Parliament through the Ministry of Finance.
Preliminary duties ranging from 50.6% (for JA Solar) to 202.5% (Wuxi Suntech) were slapped on nine individual Chinese suppliers, with a duty of 286.1% applying to all other companies.
The CITT has now finalised its decision that while Chinese modules have not yet caused injury to Canadian solar companies, they threaten to do so. That conclusion is enough to cement the tariffs.
The duties will remain in place for five years. An exception was made for one particular type of module -- 195W, 72-cell monocrystalline models -- with the CITT offering no explanation for the carve-out.
While the figures differ by country and company, Canada’s adoption of tariffs mirrors similar decisions in the US and the European Union in recent years.
EU ProSun, spearheaded by SolarWorld, recently asked the European Commission to extend the minimum import prices on Chinese PV kit beyond their December 2015 expiration date.
The imposition of tariffs on Chinese modules has sparked intense and acrimonious debate across the global solar industry.
Downstream solar installers in Canada – like their peers in the US and Europe – have lobbied against tariffs, arguing that the cheaper PV modules are, the faster the solar industry can grow.
Chinese solar manufacturers -- including players like Canadian Solar, which has a large factory in Ontario -- say that trade duties of any kind stifle growth in the critical global renewable-energy sector.
But Western solar manufacturers – a dwindling bunch, by any measure – counter that the solar industry should be more geographically diversified, and warn that Chinese producers may raise prices once they have thoroughly cornered the market.