China to exhaust legal provisions to appeal to WTO on US solar tariffs (analyst)


Solar panels on the arid hills of Mount Taihang in Handan, North China’s Hebei Province Photo: VCG

China appealed on Monday of a report by a WTO panel on US tariffs imposed on Chinese solar panels under the Trump administration. The panel rejected China’s claims earlier this month.

Analysts said China will exhaust legal provisions for an appeal although it is likely still rejected.

“China’s appeal is not only for this case but for the future. Countries that initiate trade protection measures against China must bear higher costs,” Mei Xinyu, researcher at the Academy Chinese international trade and economic cooperation from China’s Ministry of Commerce, said the Global Times.

China has notified the WTO Dispute Settlement Body of its decision to appeal the panel report in China’s case in “United States – Safeguard Measure on Imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic products “(DS562), according to a WTO statement released on Monday.

A WTO panel released a report on US safeguards on photovoltaic cells imported from China on September 2, dismissing all of China’s claims, saying China had failed to establish that the state safeguard measure -United on some crystalline silicon photovoltaic products did not meet the requirement. in the relevant articles.

“Overall, the decision will have little impact on the Chinese photovoltaic industry. Photovoltaics is a new industry. China’s solar industry started later than the United States, but its development and technological innovation is much faster than that of the United States and Europe. The improvement in quality is very fast, in order to compensate for the effect of tariff protection, ”Mei said.

The case dates back to April 2017, when US manufacturers filed a complaint with the US Department of Commerce.

In August 2018, China requested consultations with the United States regarding the definitive safeguard measure imposed by the United States on imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products.

According to the United States Office of Trade Representatives, the United States safeguard measure imposes a tariff rate quota on imports of cells and modules over a four-year period which currently expires on February 6, 2022. The United States producers have asked the Commission of the United States’ international trade to consider a safeguard extension. This review is ongoing.

“In short, the United States is pinning its hopes on tariff protection. Its strong point is its ability to advocate rather than industrial progress and competitiveness. China should continue to focus its core competitiveness on production and innovation. Let the United States focus on competitiveness in litigation. “Mei said, noting that by protecting its own industry with tariffs, the United States has increased the cost of photovoltaic cells nationwide.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the tariffs have done great harm to the US solar industry and the economy in general. As a result, the country lost a total of 62,000 jobs from 2017 to 2021, missed 10.5 gigawatts of solar deployment enough to power 1.8 million homes and avoid 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. . The United States also suffered investment losses of $ 19 billion and prices 43 to 57 percent above the world average.

According to the US Solar Market Insight report released by SEIA, supply chain constraints, the recent US government suspension order on solar energy imports, and the potential for tariff increases and extensions stemming from recent trade petitions pose downside risks to short-term growth. September 14.

“This is a critical time for our climate future, but price increases, supply chain disruptions and a series of business risks threaten our ability to decarbonize the power grid,” said Abigail Ross Hopper , President and CEO of SEIA.

The United States continues to increase tariffs on imported photovoltaic products in order to suppress foreign manufacturers and protect the development of its local photovoltaic industry, analysts said.

However, from the perspective of Chinese PV companies, the impact of the US crackdown has been significantly weakened by the increasing globalization of their business.

Several Chinese PV companies have said the United States has imposed the highest tariffs on Chinese solar products, while tariffs on products from other parts of the world are lower. As Chinese companies continue to globalize and set up factories overseas, they are well positioned to cope with increasingly stringent tariffs from the United States, China Energy News reported.

According to the report of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, by 2020, Chinese PV companies had overseas production capacity of more than 53 gigawatts.

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