U.S. trade panel backs solar industry

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided to move forward with an investigation into claims that imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules from China are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value. All six Commissioners voted in the affirmative.

U.S. solar panel makers have claimed they have been unable to compete with these lesser-priced products and have asked the ITC to impose stiff duties against imports of Chinese solar panels. U.S. energy officials say China spent more than $30 billion last year to subsidize its solar industry.

As a result of the ITC’s Dec. 2 decision, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to conduct its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of these products from China, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about Jan. 12, 2012, and its preliminary antidumping duty determination due on or about March 22, 2012.