US Import Duties

US Import Duties

November 01, 2012

US import duties on Chinese solar cells will be mostly higher, but start later, than expected.

Chinese solar cells are subject to both countervailing and anti-dumping duties when imported into the United States. The US Department of Commerce set the final duties in October. The total duties are 23.75% for Trina, 35.97% for Suntech, 30.66% for 59 other Chinese solar cell manufacturers who made filings in the proceedings, and 254.66% for other manufacturers who did not participate. The countervailing duty had been expected to apply to imports on or after December 27, 2011 and the anti-dumping duty to apply to imports starting February 25, 2012, but the government decided to start them roughly three months later. Therefore, countervailing duties will have to be paid on Chinese solar cells imported on or after March 26, 2012 and anti-dumping duties will applied starting May 25, 2012.

The duties are imposed on the importer of record. Under US tariff law, if the manufacturer reimburses its customer for the duty, the reimbursement is itself collected as an additional duty.

Imports of Chinese solar panels fell 77% through July on a year-on-year basis. Imports from Malaysia increased 188%.

Eight members of Congress, including Senator Ron Wyden, the incoming chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, sent the acting Commerce secretary a letter in late September asking her to take steps to prevent Chinese solar panel manufacturer from circumventing the duties by shipping Chinese wafers to other countries to convert into cells that are then returned to China to incorporate into solar panels. The letter said that the cell accounts for only 20% of the value of a typical solar panel.

by Keith Martin