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Suntech to Avoid Solar Tariffs With Non-Chinese Cells

Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world’s largest solar-panel maker, said using products from other nations will let it avoid U.S. tariffs on Chinese cells.

Suntech won’t be required to pay an anti-dumping tariff of 31.22 percent the U.S. announced last week, Shi Zhengrong, the Wuxi, China-based company’s chief executive officer said today on a conference call to discuss its first-quarter results.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced anti-dumping tariffs on all Chinese companies May 17. Suntech was one of 61 companies subject to duties of about 31 percent and all others received a 250 percent rate. Suntech said it can avoid the levy by sourcing cells from other countries.

“Due to Suntech’s global sourcing channels, no products that we manufactured in the U.S. or ship to the U.S. today are subject to these tariffs,” Shi said on the call.

Many Chinese solar companies began making plans last year to circumvent the duties, so the impact will be minimal, Aaron Chew, analyst at Maxim Group LLC said today in an interview.

“Everyone is focused on this, but it doesn’t matter,” Chew said. Solar manufacturers are all still “burning money and running out of cash -- nothing else matters.”

Suntech anticipates a “slight increase in price in the U.S. due to shifts in the global supply chain,” the company’s Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Beebe said on the call.

Increased production in China pushed down solar-panel prices by almost 50 percent last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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