Commerce Department Delays Chinese Solar Imports Decision

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Commerce Department is delaying for a month its decision on additional tariffs for Chinese solar-equipment imports.

The department will make a preliminary determination on whether to add tariffs Feb. 13, according to a notice in the Dec. 29 Federal Register. The postponement will allow more time for analysis, Ben Santarris, a spokesman for SolarWorld AG’s U.S. unit, said yesterday.

U.S. solar-equipment manufacturers say they are being harmed because China’s government uses cash grants, discounts on raw materials, preferential loans and tax incentives, and manipulates its currency to boost exports of solar cells. SolarWorld, a maker of solar modules, filed a complaint Oct. 19 with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department, seeking duties to offset the practices.

The trade commission on Dec. 2 said the Chinese subsidies have harmed equipment makers, ruling on the petition by Bonn-based SolarWorld seeking antidumping and countervailing duties. The commission is proceeding with an investigation.

The commission is examining possible economic harm to SolarWorld from Chinese imports, while the department determines the penalty for Chinese companies that illegally dump products.

To contact the reporter on this story: William McQuillen in Washington at bmcquillen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net