China On Solar Tariffs: ‘Extreme Dissatisfaction’

China’s not happy about the preliminary U.S. Commerce Department ruling to impose antidumping duties of at least 31 percent on its industry’s solar panels bound for the United States. Shocker, right?

“The U.S. ruling is unfair, and the Chinese side expresses its extreme dissatisfaction,” a spokesman for the Commerce Ministry said, according to a Reuters translation of a statement. “By deliberately provoking trade friction in the clean energy sector, the U.S. is sending the world a negative signal about trade protectionism.”

image via Suntech

China could answer the U.S. duties, which come atop earlier countervailing duties of 2.9 to 4.7 percent, with duties of its own on U.S.-produced polysilicon coming into China.

In 2010, U.S. companies – led by the Michigan-based Hemlock Semiconductor, the largest polysilicon company in the world – exported some $2.5 billion worth of the key photovoltaic component, much of it to China. The Chinese have suggested that tax breaks for the industry have given U.S. companies an unfair advantage over Chinese producers.

A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, however, suggested the Chinese might wait until the U.S. trade sanctions process is concluded before striking back.

“We believe these measures by the United States damage China-U.S. cooperation in the renewable and clean energy sectors…. We hope the United States can appropriately resolve the relevant issues and take practical steps to respond to China’s demands,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, according to Reuters.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.