Chinese Solar Firms Won’t Feel Heat From Higher US Import Tariffs, Industry Insiders Say
Lu Ruyi
DATE:  May 15 2024
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Chinese Solar Firms Won’t Feel Heat From Higher US Import Tariffs, Industry Insiders Say Chinese Solar Firms Won’t Feel Heat From Higher US Import Tariffs, Industry Insiders Say

(Yicai) May 15 -- China exports few solar products directly to the United States, so steep import tariff rises will have no impact, industry insiders said. Chinese solar panel makers mainly ship to the US from plants in Southeast Asia and are now even building factories in America.

The additional tariffs unveiled yesterday will have no impact on Chinese photovoltaic firms, according to Lv Jinbiao, deputy director of the silicon industry experts group at the China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association. The US has not received many China-made PV products in the past 12 years, he said.

The new US measures mainly target solar cells imported from China and do not mention products shipped from SE Asia, representatives for leading Chinese PV companies such as Longi Green Energy Technology, JinkoSolar Holding, and JA Solar Technology told Yicai.

US President Joe Biden hiked levies on a slew of China-made products, including electric vehicles, computer chips, and medical products. Solar cells will carry an import duty of 50 percent this year, up from 25 percent. The US, one of the world's largest PV markets, has also brought out industrial and financial policies to support its renewable energy industry in recent years.

“This year is an election year, which means there will be policy fluctuations that may have short-term effects,” the head of a solar cell components make said to Yicai. “It won’t have a big impact on the firm’s overseas business in the medium and long term. The US is also aware that its domestic PV production capacity is far from sufficient and will never be enough.”

China’s commerce ministry said it opposes the tariff hikes and will take measures to safeguard the country’s rights and interests.

Chinese solar businesses are fast-footed. They have spent years building capacity in SE Asia to form complete industry chains amid US curbs introduced due to suspected forced labor and to sidestep restrictions on China-made components.

Biden earlier paused for two years until this June the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on certain solar cells and modules that contain Chinese parts but are assembled in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

They were paused due to the shortage of PV modules in various US states, and if the suspension is not renewed next month, it would not make sense for Chinese firms to export cell components from SE Asia to the US anymore, Lv pointed out.

Some Chinese solar firms are even building plants in the US itself. “More Chinese PV companies are choosing to set up factories in the US to avoid the risk of higher trade tariffs,” said Wang Wenqi, a solar industry analyst at information provider Shanghai Metals Market.

Editor: Emmi Laine

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Keywords:   USA,Solar Cell,Tax,China,tariff,solar panel,PV,Southeast Asia,renewables,export,import,2024