Solar exchange traded funds are caught between a trade protection tiff as U.S. companies offset losses from China’s photovoltaic panel producers in response to a new anti-subsidy tariff on Chinese solar equipment.
The U.S. Department of Commerce increased the import duties on Chinese solar panels after finding that Beijing has been providing subsidies to artificially lower the price of photovoltaic panels produced in China, Reuters reports.
Specifically, the Commerce department placed a 35.21% tax on products made by Wuxi Suntech Power and five other affiliated companies, 18.56% on imports from Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) and 26.89% on imports form other Chinese producers.
“The import duties, which are in line with our expectations, will wipe out the price competitiveness of Chinese products in the U.S. market,” Zhou Ziguang, analyst at Chinese investment bank Ping An Securities, said in the Reuters article.
Industry experts argue that the anti-subside duties will hurt Chinese solar companies, but the damage will be limited since the U.S. made up only 10% of total Chinese solar shipments in 2013.
Trina Solar, China’s second-largest panel producer, “continues to see robust demand for its products,” the company said in a statement, Bloomberg reports. “The geographical diversification of the company’s business continues,” while sales from new and emerging markets continue to grow. [Solar ETFs Brighten as Trina Shares Surge]
Meanwhile, U.S. solar stocks strengthened on the Commerce department’s decision. First Solar (NasdaqGS: FSLR) jumped 5.3% Wednesday while SunEdison (NasdaqGS: SUNE) rose 3.4% and GT Advanced Technologies (NasdaqGS: GTAT) gained 3.0%.