U.S. to probe wind power disputes with China, Vietnam

The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Thursday that it was launching anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on utility scale wind towers from China and Vietnam.

The merchandise covered by the investigation is steel towers that support the engine and rotor blades for use in wind turbines with electrical power generation capacities in excess of 100 kilowatts, said the Commerce Department in a statement.

The department alleged China had a dumping margin at 213.54 percent and Vietnam at 140.54 to 143.29 percent in wind tower prices.

In 2010, the United States imported utility scale wind towers from China and Vietnam at an estimated 103.6 million U.S. dollars and 51.9 million dollars, respectively 50.78 percent and 39.43 percent less than 2008.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is scheduled to make its preliminary injury determination on or about Feb. 13, 2012.

If the ITC determines that there is a reasonable indication that imports from China and Vietnam are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, the domestic industry, the investigation will continue, and the Commerce Department will be scheduled to make its countervailing and anti-dumping preliminary determinations in March and June 2012 respectively.

The petitioner for the investigation is the Wind Tower Trade Coalition comprised of four companies.

But some U.S. companies disputed the charges, arguing that Chinese imports helped consumers and promoted rapid growth of the industry and that the tension could spark a trade war with China and raise prices for the entire industry.

Trade tensions with China are especially sensitive at a time when the United States and other Western economies want to boost technology exports to revive economic growth and cut unemployment.

China and the United States are two of the world’s biggest markets for solar power, wind energy and other renewable energy technology. Both governments are encouraging their own suppliers in order to generate higher value added growth.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry has repeatedly urged the United States to abide by its commitment against protectionism and work together with China and other members of the international community to maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.