US to continue probes into wind tower imports

Updated: 2012-02-11 12:59


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WASHINGTON - A US federal trade panel determined Friday the US wind tower industry was "materially injured" by imports from China and Vietnam, amid concerns that such action would further fuel the country's protectionist sentiments.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) voted in the affirmative in the case, which was petitioned by the US wind tower trade coalition comprised of four wind tower companies.

The commission believed there was "a reasonable indication" that the US industry was threatened with material injury by imports of utility scale wind towers from China that are allegedly subsidized by the Chinese government.

It also said these wind tower imports from China and Vietnam are allegedly sold on the US market at a less than fair value.

The USITC's move would allow the US Department of Commerce to continue its investigations on imports of these products. The preliminary countervailing duty (CVD) determination regarding China is due around March 23, 2012, while the anti-dumping (AD) one on China and Vietnam is due around June 6, 2012.

These investigations, started on January 18 by US Commerce Department, intend to impose duties of up to 213.54 percent on China and of 140.54 to 143.29 percent on Vietnam.

The United States imported nearly $158.7 million worth of wind towers from China and Vietnam in 2010, according to the USITC.

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said late last month on its official webpage that these acts would not only hamper bilateral cooperation in new energy and harm relevant US industries, but also went against global efforts to tackle the challenges of climate change and energy security.

Trade tensions with China are a particularly sensitive issue as the United States is trying to boost its exports to revitalize a flagging economy and slash the unemployment rate in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown and subsequent global economic recession that have hurt the US economy badly and sparked a new wave of protectionism.

Observers see trade protectionism as a short-sighted approach, while some US officials believe a deeper trade integration into other regions could help the United States create more jobs and improve its competitiveness.

The Chinese MOC 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.