Trina slams US preliminary duties

Trina Solar has expressed disappointment over the preliminary duties Washington has imposed on Chinese PV panels that use Taiwan-made cells, but says it remains committed to the US market.

In a preliminary decision earlier this week, the US Department of Commerce assigned duties of 26.9% on most Chinese solar imports, including PV products containing Taiwan-made cells.

Trina, the second largest supplier of PV panels in the world, received the lowest preliminary countervailing duty among the group of targeted manufacturers, at 18.56%.

The Jiangsu-based company — which this week launched an offering of 8.8 million American Depositary Shares and $150 million of convertible senior notes, due in 2019 — described the move as a violation of the principles of free trade.

"We will continue to play an important role in the US market and serve our customers in the region,” it said in an online statement, noting "robust demand" for its PV modules in the US, China and Japan.

The US decision is subject to change and will not be finalised until October, but threatens to escalate simmering US-China trade tensions.

The move follows claims by the US unit of German PV giant SolarWorld — recently identified by the US Justice Department as one of five companies to have been targeted by Chinese hackers — that Chinese manufacturers started using Taiwan-made cells in their solar panels to dodge countervailing and anti-dumping duties assigned to Chinese PV cells in 2012.

Trina dismissed SolarWorld’s claims as “unfounded.”

In May, Trina announced its third consecutive quarter of profitability, reporting net income of $26.5m in the January-March period. It shipped 558MW of modules in the first quarter, and expects full-year shipments to range between 3.6GW and 3.8GW.