US tariffs on photovoltaic imports will “have limited impact” on Chinese companies

Major Chinese photovoltaic (PV) enterprises said that the U.S. move to double tariff rates on PV cell imports from China to 50 percent would have a limited impact on them, according to media reports.

The U.S. move will only backfire on itself and harm the country’ s green transformation and industrial development, experts said. The move only reflects fears in Washington over China’s rapidly advancing technologies, with the U.S. worried that it will lose market share and won’t be able to compete with China.  

An industry insider said that the additional tariffs will have a short-term impact but won’t affect the company’s overseas business in the medium or long term, as 2024 is an election year and the policy fluctuates. The U.S. clearly knows that its domestic PV capacity is far from enough and will never be enough, financial news website reported.

The Biden administration on Tuesday (U.S. time) announced new tariff rates on several Chinese products. The import tax on Chinese solar cells will double to 50 percent in 2024. 

The new tariff rates showed that the U.S. fears China’s growing competitiveness in the new-energy sector with its expanding and rising quality, scale and technological development, Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Washington is afraid that China’s rapid development could possibly overtake the U.S. market, if the U.S. does not implement any restrictive measures, and the U.S. might not be able to compete with China, according to Lin.

Chinese officials and authorities have urged the U.S. to correct its wrongdoing and vowed to take resolute measures to defend China’s rights. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that China opposes unilateral tariffs that violate WTO rules and “will take all measures necessary to defend our legitimate rights and interests.”

The Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday that the tariff hike is a politicization and weaponization of trade issues and a typical case of political manipulation that will seriously affect the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation.

The U.S. has long been cracking down on China’s PV products. In 2012, Washington hit Chinese solar companies with punitive import tariffs of 30 percent or more, ruling that they had dumped cut-price solar panels into the U.S. market.

Observers said that the additional U.S. import tariffs on China’s new-energy sector will not only fail to curb China’s industrial development, but will drag on the efforts of the U.S. to tackle climate change