First Solar, Now Wind: US Hits China With Tower Tariffs

Two weeks after hitting Chinese solar manufacturers with tough new duties, the U.S. is bringing down the hammer on wind turbine tower manufacturers from China.

The United States today said it had made a preliminary determination that Chinese producers/exporters have received government subsidies ranging from 13.74 percent to 26.00 percent.

turbine towers

image via Shutterstock

“As a result of the preliminary affirmative determination, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a cash deposit based on these preliminary rates,” the Commerce Department said in a statement [PDF].

U.S. companies behind the action, represented by the Wiley Rein law firm – the same firm that’s working for SolarWorld and a coalition of solar manufacturers in their fight with the Chinese – filed a trade complaint [PDF] with the Commerce Department and International Trade Commission last December. They sought antidumping investigations into Chinese and Vietnamese imports of utility scale wind towers, and a countervailing duty investigation into Chinese imports of utility scale wind towers.

In a statement today, Wiley Rein’s Alan H. Price called the Commerce Department announcement “an important step in remedying the harm caused by unfairly traded wind tower exports. We look forward to further relief when antidumping duties are announced in about two months.”

The petitions were brought by four Midwest companies – Trinity Structural Towers, DMI Industries, Katana Summit and Broadwind Energy – calling themselves the Wind Tower Trade Coalition. They charged that “the Chinese government has used, and continues to use, unprecedented levels of subsidization to push wind towers into the U.S. market.”

The steel plate wind towers in question are massive. They are manufactured in three to five sections, then put together at the project site, and can weigh more than 300 tons and generally rise 80-100 meters in height. Prices for a tower can range from $300,000 to over $600,000.

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.

  • pburmeis

    ABOUT TIME!  How long will we allow the pretense of “free trade” to destroy our local economy?