|Wind Tower photo: Samdogs via PhotoRee
The United States Department of Commerce has once again ruled in favor of American companies who say Chinese manufacturers are receiving unfair government subsidies.
American wind tower manufacturers filed a trade complaint in December against Chinese companies, and on Wednesday the DOC made its preliminary determination on countervailing duties. According to Wiley Rein, the lead counsel for the group that filed the petition, commerce found that mandatory respondents, Titan Wind Energy and CS Wind China, received countervailing subsidies from the Chinese government at rates of 26 percent and 13.74 percent, respectively. The agency also ruled that the duty against imports of all other Chinese utility-scale wind towers is 19.87 percent.
The DOC is scheduled to make a separate preliminary determination on its anti-dumping investigation against wind towers from China and Vietnam on July 26. According to trade experts who weighed in after a similar set of investigations in the solar industry, anti-dumping tariffs are often set higher than countervailing duties. The petitions filed assert dumping margins of 64.37 percent for China and 59.11 percent for Vietnam. The case covers wind towers that are at least 50 meters tall and designed to support large-scale turbines with capacities greater than 100 kilowatts.
“This is an important step in remedying the harm caused by unfairly traded wind tower exports,” said Alan H. Price of Wiley Rein. “We look forward to further relief when antidumping duties are announced in about two months.”
The law firm is also representing the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), which filed a trade complaint against Chinese solar manufacturers in October. The DOC has ruled in favor of CASM on both the countervailing duties and the anti-dumping tariffs. The anti-dumping rates were set at 31 percent in what has become a fierce and hotly debated issue in both the American and the global solar industries. That ruling has drawn sharp rebukes from a large segment of the American solar industry, as well as the Chinese government, which is quickly ramping up its own investigations. The issue, though, has played well politically, with key Democrats backing the tough measures.
While China has risen to dominance in the global solar industry, its manufacturing presence is much smaller in wind. However, members of the WTTC say that they are being forced out of the industry because of the price of towers beings shipped to the United States.
The American wind market continues to put up strong installation numbers, but the industry is fighting to extend the Production Tax Credit, a key financial component that backers say is critical to the market’s continued growth. However, no deal has been reached, and many manufacturers have stated that they may turn away from the U.S. market without an extension.
Steve Leone is an Associate Editor at RenewableEnergyWorld.com. He has been a journalist for more than 15 years and has worked for news organizations in Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia and California.