Canadian Solar applauds WTO ruling

Canadian Solar has thrown its weight behind the recent WTO ruling that found parts of the anti-subsidy tariffs the US imposed on Chinese PV kit in 2012 “inconsistent” with international trade law.

The WTO’s ruling, announced earlier this week, is “in alignment” with Canadian Solar’s view of things, says Thomas Koerner, general manager of the company’s Americas division.

“As a Canadian company, we look forward to maintaining and conducting business as usual in the US market, as we continue to further support and supply a growing US customer base,” says Koerner.

“We urge the government of the US to re-evaluate its preliminary determination of countervailing duties and the misguided trade dispute at large, in order to uphold the universal values of free trade and competitiveness which have fostered the environment in which we’ve witnessed consistent growth, year after year.”

Canadian Solar is in a fairly unique position, with its headquarters and 500MW of module capacity in the Canadian province of Ontario, and the remainder of its huge PV production capacity in China.

Nearly 44% of Canadian Solar’s sales in the first quarter of this year came from the Americas, compared to less than 18% during the same period last year.

Ontario itself received a major blow at the WTO last year, with the WTO reaffirming that the province’s local-content requirements for renewables projects flouted international law.

Despite the fact that many experts believe the WTO’s ruling will hold little meaning for the PV industry, at least for several years, the sector has seized on the news ahead of next week’s preliminary determination in the latest US round of trade cases against China’s solar industry.

The Solar Energy Industries Association lobby, which is broadly against tariffs, notes that the WTO ruling would not have teeth until 2016 at the earliest, as the US can still appeal the decision.

Note:Amended to say that Canadian Solar has 500MW of module capacity in Ontario, not 330MW.