China Announces Final Determinations in Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations into Solar-Grade Polysilicon from Korea and United States

by White & Case LLP

On January 20, 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) published Notice No. 5 [2014], imposing definitive antidumping (AD) duties on imports of solar-grade polysilicon from Korea and the United States. On the same day, MOFCOM also published Notice No. 4 [2014], imposing definitive countervailing duties (CVDs) on the same product imported from the United States.

Notice No. 5 imposes definitive AD duty rates ranging from 53.3 to 57 percent and 2.4 to 48.7 percent on subject goods from the United States and Korea, respectively. Notice No. 4 finds zero or de minimis subsidy rates on imports from REC Solar Grade Silicon LLC, REC Advanced Silicon Materials LLC, and MEMC Pasadena, Inc., and accordingly does not impose countervailing duties for these exporters under this investigation; however, based on MOFCOM’s findings, Notice No. 4 imposes a definitive 2.1 percent CVD rate on imports from Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation, AE Polysilicon Corporation and all other US exporters. MOFCOM asserts that the countervailable programs include (i) national and state tax credits for advanced energy manufacturing industries, economically depressed areas, high tech businesses, and industrial development zones, and (ii) reduced state tax rates for solar energy product manufacturers. These AD and countervailing duty orders took effect on January 20, 2014 and will remain in force for five years.

The subject merchandise is solar-grade polysilicon used as material in the manufacture of crystalline silicon solar cells and classified under tariff code 28046190 of the Import and Export Tariff Code of China. The scope of the investigations excludes electronic-grade products used for such semiconductor products as integrated circuit and discrete device manufacturing falling under this tariff code.

MOFCOM initiated the AD and countervailing duty investigations on July 20, 2012. MOFCOM announced its preliminary AD decision on July 18, 2013, imposing provisional AD duty rates of 2.4 to 48.7 percent and 53.7 to 57 percent for exporters from Korea and the United States, respectively. On September 16, 2013, MOFCOM also announced its preliminary CVD decision, imposing provisional CVD rates of zero to 6.5 percent for exporters from the United States.

MOFCOM’s January 20 announcements are the most recent in a series of tit-for-tat trade moves on the part of Chinese and US companies and national governments in regard to renewable energy products. On December 31, 2013, SolarWorld Industries America filed a petition requesting that the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and US International Trade Commission (ITC) launch AD and CVD investigations into imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China and Taiwan. Similarly, US solar company Energy Conversion Devices Liquidation Trust filed an antitrust suit in the Southern Division of the Eastern District of Michigan District Court on October 4, 2013 against Chinese solar companies Trina, Yingli, and Suntech, alleging that the these companies engaged in price fixing and sold solar panels at unreasonably low and/or predatory prices in violation of US antitrust laws.

Click here for a copy of Notice No. 5 [2014], and here for Notice No. 4 [2014] (both in Chinese).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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