As expected China has announced its investigation into US dumping of polysilicon into China has revealed problems that may see tariffs imposed immediately. The action was expected after the US chose to impose anti dumping tariffs on Chinese panels following the trade dispute instigated by the US arm of Solar Power. At the recent Intersolar Gordon Brinser continued to call for US industry unity behind his perception that US industry is being hurt by Chinese growth. This is despite the growing disharmony, especially downstream, against his company’s stance.
China’s response has being to launch its own anti dumping investigation against the US and Korea claiming polysilicon was dumped to falsely reduce costs as China was gaining market share. The trade wars between the two countries now covers a range of industries and disagreements and Solarworld’s actions have ensures the solar and PV industries are caught in the middle of the on going actions.
The Chinese government has not outlined the details of any tariffs to be imposed on polysilicon manufacturers but already the news has elicited response from US polysilicon provider Hemlock Semiconductor with their parent company Dow Corning releasing a statement of concern regarding the Chinese action. Dow Corning president and CEO Robert D. Hansen’s response to China Ministry of Commerce proceedings on U.S. polysilicon at least admonished both sides of not coming to a meaningful conclusion in the on going disputes rather than attempt to shine a one sided light on the topic.
Hansen’s comments were as follows:
"On behalf of Dow Corning Corporation and Hemlock Semiconductor Group, I am disappointed that the United States and China have yet to negotiate a sustainable, mutually beneficial settlement to the global trade issues that have arisen in the solar industry. This review is part of a broader trade conflict extending far beyond the polysilicon and solar industries, as an escalating number of trade disputes have been initiated throughout the globe in the last 12 months. This issue is serious and could impact Hemlock Semiconductor’s ability to sell material to China – its largest market - if the Chinese government assesses duties against U.S. manufactured polysilicon sold into China.
This case proves that no country or industry wins when trade disputes escalate. In China, these actions threaten the Chinese solar industry’s access to the critical technical collaboration and material supply companies like Hemlock Semiconductor currently provide Chinese solar cell and module producers. This could lead to higher costs and potentially less globally competitive solar products from China. In the United States, more than $1 billion of U.S. exports and potentially thousands of U.S. jobs across the solar value chain are at risk - as is the steady growth of the U.S. solar industry.
Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor will continue to work closely with government officials from the U.S. and China to express the need for trade policies that acknowledge the dynamics and opportunities of a new and emerging global industry. Ultimately, I am optimistic that a reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution is within reach which will enable and foster growth and cooperation.”
They are not the only company to be impacted by the situation. Many of China’s polysilicon suppliers are saddled with huge debts in their chase to make market share and the fast build up required to avoid a global shortage a couple of years ago. Any tariff imposition would affect the global market and pricing and could be as detrimental to Chinese companies as those from the US and Korea.