Court of International Trade Enforces Questionnaire Procedures and Orders Examination of Chinese Solar Companies' Ownership

On November 20, 2014, The U.S. Court of International Trade rejected a Chinese solar panel manufacturer’s application for separate-rate status.  The manufacturer, Jiangsu Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology, Co. (Jiansheng) did not respond to a Department of Commerce questionnaire regarding the quantity and value of exported merchandise before a Department mandated deadline.  As warned by the questionnaire, failure to respond in a timely manner resulted in forfeiture of Jiansheng’s opportunity to be considered for separate-rate status.  Thus, Jiansheng was included within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) wide entity, comprised of all companies that did not qualify for a separate rate, and was assigned a 249.96 percent antidumping rate based on an adverse inference.  Respondents who filed their questionnaire response within the deadline and Commerce determined demonstrated significance independence from government control, received an antidumping duty rate of 25.96 percent.  As a result of Jiansheng’s belated response, they lost the opportunity to qualify for an antidumping rate approximately one-tenth of the rate they ultimately received.  The Court’s refusal to forgive procedural missteps demonstrates the importance of complying with mandated deadlines in antidumping investigations.

The Court also ordered Commerce to further investigate the potential government ownership of four Chinese solar panel manufacturers who previously received separate rate eligibility.  These four manufacturers are:  Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Yingli Green Energy Americas, Inc. and Ningbo Komaes Solar Technology Co., Ltd.  The domestic petitioner of the order, SolarWorld, argued that Commerce improperly granted separate rate status to these respondents whose senior managers and/or board directors held membership or positions in certain state-owned enterprises or governmental entities.  Despite the Court’s credence given to Commerce’s previous separate rate determinations for these respondents, Commerce requested a voluntary remand for reconsideration of separate rate eligibility.  The Court granted the request for voluntary remand.

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