• China says it has approached WTO to appeal against US policy of imposing tariffs against Chinese products, including solar PV products
  • US is protecting its own renewable energy ministry with subsidies and thereby violating WTO agreement on Safeguards, according to China
  • Commerce Ministry also says US sanctions against Chinese businesses have distorted the international market for Chinese products as PV and damaged its interests

China says it has officially approached the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States imposing safeguard duties on solar imports from China and other nations and employing other protectionist measures as giving subsidies to its domestic industry. In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said the US measures amount to violating WTO Agreement on Safeguards.

This act of abuse of safeguards, it points out, not only harms the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese side, but also affects the seriousness and authority of the WTO rules. Chinese government claimed the US subsidy policy has given the country’s renewable energy industry an unfair competitive advantage and damaged the legitimate rights and interests of China’s renewable energy companies.

The US administration under President Donald Trump has imposed a total of 55% tariff on Chinese PV cells and modules, with the latest 25% slapped on $16 billion worth of imports from China under Section 301 (see Chinese Solar Cells & Modules Face US Sanctions). Previously, the US government had levied a 30% safeguard duty on imported solar cells and modules, which will gradually come down to 15% in the fourth year (see Trump Slaps 30% Tariff On Imported Cells & Modules).

“Violations by the US have seriously distorted the international market for products such as photovoltaics and seriously damaged China’s trade interests. The Chinese side’s resort to the US dispute resolution mechanism is a necessary measure to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and maintain multilateral trade rules. We urge the US to take concrete actions, respect the rules of the WTO, and abandon the wrong practices so that the relevant trade can be restored to normal track,” it stated.

A representative of China Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA), Peng Peng, was quoted by Reuters saying that China is bringing up solar in order to keep up the rhythm of the trade dispute. The topic is actually too little in the big scheme of things in the trade disputes between the two countries, he said.