The United States slapped new import duties on solar panels and other related products from China on Tuesday after the Commerce Department ruled they were produced using Chinese government subsidies.
The U.S. arm of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld filed a petition complaining that Chinese manufacturers are sidestepping duties imposed in 2012 by shifting production of the cells used to make their panels to Taiwan and continuing to flood the U.S. market with cheap products.
The new complaint seeks to close that loophole by extending import duties to also cover panels made with parts from Taiwan.
In a preliminary determination, Commerce imposed duties of 35.21 percent on imports of panels and other products made by Wuxi Suntech Power and five other affiliated companies, 18.56 percent on imports of Trina Solar and 26.89 percent on imports from other Chinese producers.
In the United States, the complaint has pitted SolarWorld Industries America, which makes crystalline silicon solar panels at its factory in Hillsboro, Ore., against U.S. solar companies that mainly focus on installation and say imposing import duties will only push up the cost of solar power.
“Today is a strong win for the U.S. solar industry,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America. “We look forward to the end of illegal Chinese government intervention in the U.S. solar market, and we applaud Commerce for its work that supports fair trade.”
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Obama’s choice to head an agency overseeing potentially risky financial market activities.
Timothy Massad, a Treasury official who has promised to act aggressively against misconduct to ensure investors’ confidence, was approved as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The CFTC, which regulates futures and options markets as well as derivatives trading, oversees some of the riskiest corners of the financial world. Derivatives were blamed for fueling the financial crisis.
Also confirmed were two nominees to fill vacancies on the CFTC panel: securities lawyer Sharon Bowen and brokerage firm executive J. Christopher Giancarlo. Bowen will fill a Democratic seat on the five-member commission, Giancarlo a Republican one.
Massad will succeed Gary Gensler, who left in December. Commissioner Mark Wetjen has been acting CFTC chairman.
— Associated Press
● Michigan’s Senate approved spending $195 million to help prevent steeper cuts in Detroit retiree pensions as part of a deal designed to shield valuable city-owned art from being sold and resolve the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history. The Republican-led chamber voted 21 to 17 to contribute the state funds to join $466 million in commitments from 12 foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The pool of money would shore up Detroit’s two retirement systems while the city’s art museum and its assets would be transferred to a private nonprofit group. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said he will sign the legislation.
● Hillshire Brands has authorized takeover talks with Tyson Foods and Brazil’s JBS as the $6.7 billion bidding war for the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs escalated. Pilgrim’s Pride, the chicken producer that is 75 percent owned by JBS, raised its offer to $55 a share from $45, Hillshire said. That topped a $50 a share bid last week from Tyson, the second-largest U.S. pork producer. The $6.7 billion bid is the second from Greeley, Colo.-based Pilgrim’s Pride. Before its first bid, Hillshire had itself made a $6.6 billion offer to buy Pinnacle Foods, producer of brands including Vlasic pickles.
● Two of the Southwest’s largest coal-fired power plants straddle the San Juan River in New Mexico, but one of them didn’t factor into the Obama administration’s plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions across the nation because it is on an American Indian reservation. The Environmental Protection Agency said it will delay emission standards for four power plants on reservations to give tribes an opportunity to create their own cleanup plans. The two power plants on the Navajo Nation reservation are among the country’s top emitters of carbon dioxide. The other two generating stations are in northeastern Utah and western Arizona.
● Standard & Poor’s suffered a defeat in litigation accusing it of issuing misleading credit ratings before the 2008 financial crisis, as a federal judge ruled that lawsuits by 16 states and the District belong in state courts, not federal court. The decision by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan may raise the McGraw Hill Financial unit’s costs to defend itself and exposes it to a greater risk of multiple judgments, conflicting rulings and higher legal bills.
— From news services
● 8:30 a.m.: International trade for April.
● 2 p.m.: Federal Reserve’s “beige book.”