Suntech Power Holdings Company Ltd. (Wuxi, China), Trina Solar Ltd. (Changzhou, China) and Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd. (Baoding, China) have all vowed to continue their participation in the U.S. PV market, while warning of potential damage to the U.S. PV industry. The Chinese government has also expressed "extreme dissatisfaction" with the ruling, which industry analysts predict will benefit Taiwan and other nations.
"These duties do not reflect the reality of a highly-competitive global solar industry," stated Suntech Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Beebe. "We will work closely with the Department of Commerce prior to their final decision to demonstrate why these duties are not justified by fact."
"As a global company with global supply chains and manufacturing facilities in three countries, including the United States, we are providing our U.S. customers with hundreds of megawatts of quality solar products that are not subject to these tariffs."
Potential for retaliation worries polysilicon makers
The ruling follows the preliminary ruling on the DOC's countervailing duty investigation, which proposed tariffs of 3% - 4%. If both rulings are concluded at current levels, this would mean tariffs of roughly 35% against major Chinese PV cell and module manufacturers.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has not said how it will respond at this time. In the past MOFCOM has threatened retaliation against U.S. tariffs, and initiated a trade barrier investigation against U.S. support for its renewable energy industries in November 2011.
As China is a net importer of polysilicon from the U.S., the nation's polysilicon makers are particularly concerned about retaliation. In its statement, Dow Corning (Midland, Michigan, U.S.), a participant in joint venture Hemlock Semiconductor, noted the complexity of PV supply chains, and warned that the overall industry in the U.S. will suffer if final duties are in line with the preliminary DOC judgment.
Chinese PV cell production to shift to Taiwan
The ruling does not apply to modules assembled in China using cells made in a third nation, which has led to speculations that Chinese PV module providers will shift cell production to Taiwan and other nations.
Greentech Media estimates that if Chinese PV module manufacturers use the tolling services of Taiwan-based manufacturers to turn wafers into cells, before bringing them back to China for assembly into modules, this will increase total costs by roughly 6-12%.
Trina, Yingli and Suntech have also vowed to defend their positions, in advance of a final ruling which is expected before the end of 2012.