Canada has approved duties on imported Chinese solar equipment, escalating a trade dispute over what importers say are below-cost components, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.
As of Thursday, companies including JinkoSolar Holding Co. and Trina Solar Solar Ltd. must pay a tariff to sell products in Canada, according to a statement on the agency’s website. Preliminary duties linked to allegedly unfair trade practices were set by the agency and may change as the investigation continues, according to Michel Parent, a spokesman for the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, a judicial institution that weighs trade disputes.
“These are provisional duties that will be collected as of March 5,” Parent said Friday in an interview. “At the end of the investigation, if the tribunal and CBSA determine that these margins on dumping were not properly established, the CBSA reimburses provisional duties that are collected.”
The tribunal said Feb. 3 in a preliminary ruling that subsidized solar equipment from China poses a risk to the domestic industry. Following a complaint from four Ontario-based manufacturers in October, the border services agency found that China’s share of Canadian imports rose to about 85 percent between October 2013 and September 2014 from an estimated 56 percent in 2012.
The U.S. is involved in a similar dispute. In 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department agreed to apply tariffs on solar cells from China following a complaint from SolarWorld AG, a German manufacturer with a factory in Oregon.
A final determination on tariff rates is expected later this year. China’s Commerce Ministry says imposing such duties would violate World Trade Organization rules.
Lead image: Ontario solar PV installation. Credit: Shutterstock.