US slaps duty on Chinese wind tower imports to save local cos

Written by Reuters | Washington | Updated: Jun 1 2012, 08:41am hrs
The US imposed preliminary duties as high as 26% on a second clean-energy product from China on Wednesday, this time hitting the tall steel towers used to harvest power from the wind.

The decision by the US commerce department is a victory for the Wind Tower Trade Coalition, a group of US producers who say they are being driven out of business by low-priced imports from China and Vietnam.

The commerce department, in a move likely to further strain trade ties, said Chinese manufacturers received countervailable government subsidies ranging from 13.74% to 26% of the cost of the towers.

China criticised the move, urging Washington to adopt a more consultative approach to resolving trade rows.

Readily resorting to protectionist measures is not conducive to China and the US continuing to cooperate in the trade and economic fields, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said.

The US tariffs are intended to offset Chinese government subsidies with Titan Wind Energy and related companies hit with a 26% preliminary duty. CS Wind China Co and related companies were given a 13.74% duty and all others 19.87%.

This is an important step in remedying the harm caused by unfairly traded wind-tower exports, Alan Price, chair of Wiley Reins International Trade Practice and lead attorney for US producers, said.

Importers will have to post bonds or cash deposits based on the preliminary countervailing duty rates while the commerce department continues its investigation.

A final decision on duty rates is expected in August followed by a US International Trade Commission vote in September on whether to allow the duties or not.

The US group includes Trinity Structural Towers, Broadwind Towers, DMI Industries and Katana Summit, a joint venture between Katana Industries, Sumitomo Corporation of America and SC Steel Investment. US producers also are asking for anti-dumping duties on wind towers from both China and Vietnam to offset what they say is unfairly low pricing. A commerce department decision in that phase of the case is due in late July.