May 30, 2012 / 7:18 PM / 7 years ago

U.S. sets preliminary duties on China wind towers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States slapped preliminary duties on Wednesday on a second clean-energy product from China, this time hitting the tall steel towers used in power-generating wind turbines.

The U.S. Commerce Department said it determined that Chinese manufacturers received government subsidies ranging from 13.74 percent to 26 percent of the cost of production of its towers.

The towers, which can stretch more than 100 meters into the air, are assembled on site and hold the huge blades that power the wind turbines. They represent about 15 percent of the cost of the multi-million-dollar final product.

“This is an important step in remedying the harm caused by unfairly traded wind-tower exports,” Alan Price, chair of Wiley Rein’s International Trade Practice and lead attorney for U.S. producers, said in a statement.

“We look forward to further relief when (preliminary) anti-dumping duties are announced in about two months,” he said.

The preliminary duties set on Wednesday are “countervailing duties” to offset government subsidies. Any anti-dumping duties applied would be to negate unfairly low pricing.

The United States imported an estimated $222 million of the wind towers from China in 2011.

In an earlier action on a clean-energy product from China, the department two weeks ago set preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging from 31 percent to 250 percent on billions of dollars of solar panel imports from China.

Wednesday’s decision is a victory for the Wind Tower Trade Coalition, a group of U.S. producers who say they are being driven out of business by the imports.

The group includes Trinity Structural Towers (TRN.N), Broadwind Towers (BWEN.O), DMI Industries (DMID.KA) and Katana Summit, a joint venture between Katana Industries, Sumitomo Corporation of America SUMTME.UL and SC Steel Investment.

Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Anthony Boadle and Philip Barbara

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