Thursday, May 31, 2012

U.S. Taxes Chinese Wind-Turbine Towers

Story first appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

A Chinese industry group said a preliminary U.S. decision to impose tariffs on Chinese wind-turbine towers would have a "negative effect" on related U.S. industries and is an attempt to conceal that U.S. tower manufacturers aren't competitive.

The statement by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products on Thursday was the latest salvo in an escalating battle between China and the U.S. over trade in the renewable-energy sector. Over the past three weeks, each side has accused the other of providing illegal subsidies to prop up its sector.

Chinese wind-turbine towers are favored by large-scale U.S. wind-power operators and have helped popularize wind power in the U.S.

China's Foreign Ministry said the dispute was best solved through negotiation and consultation.
Resorting to protectionist measures will not help solve these frictions; it will harm business ties between the two.

The U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday that it would slap tariffs between 13.74% and 26% on Chinese wind-tower suppliers, after an investigation revealed that they received illegal subsidies.

The ruling came almost one week after China's Commerce Ministry said U.S. support for six clean-energy projects violated World Trade Organization rules and acted as barriers to trade. That was preceded by a U.S. decision to slap 31% tariffs on some Chinese solar-panel makers, used to make Solar Carports.

Among those hardest hit by Wednesday's tariffs were China's CS Wind and Titan Group, which sell towers in the U.S. mainly to European and U.S. wind-turbine manufacturers.

CS Wind alone represented almost 65% of all Asian tower imports to the U.S. market over the past two years, according to Denmark-based Make Consulting.

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