China confirms US, Korea poly-tariffs

An existing GCL-Poly factory in China

Despite hosting GCL-Poly, China relies heavily on imports

China has confirmed a raft of punitive tariffs on polysilicon made in the US and Korea, just two days before the US will take a decision on whether to broaden its own package of tariffs on Chinese PV kit.

The painful anti-dumping tariffs, which vary from company to company, are mostly in line with the preliminary versions Beijing last summer slapped on US and Korean makers of the critical PV feedstock.

US producers face the highest duties, led by REC Silicon and AE Polysilicon, both of which will see their preliminary rates of 57% held steady.

The more modest anti-subsidy tariffs China’s Commerce Ministry put in place last year will, however, be shrunk compared to their preliminary rates, to about 2.1% in the case of US producers.

In all cases the tariffs are to remain in force for five years, according to Reuters.

Despite being home to GCL-Poly, the world’s largest maker of PV-grade polysilicon, China’s world-beating PV manufacturing sector remains largely dependent on high-quality polysilicon produced in the US, Europe and Korea.

In December China’s ReneSola announced it would shut down a polysilicon plant in Sichuan province after a failed and costly attempt to bring it up to a competitive level.

Europe-based polysilicon producers escaped the same fate as their American and Korean rivals last year, in an exception seen as tied to the largely amicable resolution to the EU-China solar spat.

The announcement from Beijing with regards to the US and Korea came just days after the US Department of Commerce confirmed that on 22 January it will take a decision on whether broaden the scope of its own package of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rates on Chinese companies – with potentially big impacts for the solar industries in both countries.

The initial tariffs, imposed by the US in 2012, cover only PV cells made in China. That distinction means that many Chinese companies have simply started importing cells from Taiwan – often made using wafers from China – before assembling the modules in China and shipping them to the US.

However, the US may soon widen the tariffs to cover a broader range of kit, as well as equipment made in Taiwan.

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