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美国恢复对东南亚太阳能产品征收关税,剑指中国

ANA SWANSON, ALAN RAPPEPORT

2024年6月7日

对中国企业在东南亚生产的部分太阳能产品征收的关税,在暂停两年后,于周四恢复。 Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Tariffs aimed at protecting America’s solar industry from foreign competition snapped back into place on Thursday, ending a two-year pause that President Biden approved as part of his effort to jump-start solar adoption in the U.S.

周四,旨在保护美国太阳能产业不受外国竞争影响的关税重新生效,结束了拜登总统为推动美国太阳能普及而批准的两年暂停期。

The tariffs, which will apply to certain solar products made by Chinese companies in Southeast Asia, kicked in at a moment of growing global concern about a surge of cheap Chinese solar products that are undercutting U.S. and European manufacturers.

这些关税将适用于中国企业在东南亚生产的某些太阳能产品。目前,全球对中国廉价太阳能产品激增的担忧日益增长,这些产品正在削弱美国和欧洲制造商的竞争力。

The Biden administration has been trying to build up America’s solar industry by offering tax credits, and companies have announced more than 30 new U.S. manufacturing investments in the past year. But U.S. solar companies say they are still struggling to survive as competitors in China and Southeast Asia flood the global market with solar panels that are being sold at prices far below what American firms need to charge to stay in business.

拜登政府一直试图通过提供税收抵免来发展美国的太阳能产业,过去一年中,有30多家公司宣布在美国制造业进行新的投资。但美国太阳能公司表示仍在为生存挣扎,因为中国和东南亚的竞争对手以远低于美国公司维持业务所需的价格向全球市场大量出售太阳能电池板。

That has forced President Biden to make an uncomfortable choice: Continue welcoming inexpensive imports that are helping the United States transition away from fossil fuels, or block them to protect new U.S. solar factories that are benefiting from taxpayer money.

这迫使拜登总统要做一个棘手的选择:是继续欢迎帮助美国摆脱化石燃料的廉价进口产品,还是阻止它们,以保护利用纳税人资金新建的美国太阳能工厂。

The tariffs that take effect Thursday encapsulated that dilemma. The levies, which apply to certain solar products coming to the United States from Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, were approved two years ago, after U.S. officials ruled that some Chinese firms were trying to dodge preexisting American tariffs on China by routing solar panels through other countries. The exact tariff rate depends on the company but could be more than 250 percent.

周四生效的关税体现了这种困境。它们适用于从柬埔寨、泰国、马来西亚和越南进口到美国的某些太阳能产品,是在两年前批准的,当时美国官员裁定,一些中国公司试图借道其他国家,以规避美国此前对中国征收的关税。确切的关税税率取决于公司,但可能超过250%。

The Chinese firms had set up factories in Southeast Asia, but Commerce Department officials said that some were not doing substantial manufacturing there. Rather, they were using sites in those countries to make minor changes to Chinese-made solar products, and then shipping them to the United States tariff-free, the ruling decided.

中国公司在东南亚建立了工厂,但商务部官员表示,有些公司并没有在当地进行实质性生产。相反,他们利用这些国家的工厂对中国制造的太阳能产品稍做改动,然后免关税销往美国。

Those products should have been subject to additional tariffs, but the Biden administration made an unusual decision in June 2022 to temporarily pause them for two years, to ensure that the United States would still have access to plenty of solar panels. Congress passed a resolution last year to reinstate the tariffs, but Mr. Biden vetoed it.

这些产品本应被征收额外关税,但拜登政府在2022年6月做出了一个不同寻常的决定,将关税暂停两年,以确保美国仍能获得充足的太阳能电池板。国会去年通过了一项恢复关税的决议,但拜登否决了该决议

The administration described the decision to suspend the tariffs as a compromise. Groups like the American Clean Power Association, which represents utility solar and energy storage companies, had argued that imposing the tariffs would harm U.S. efforts to combat climate change. But the decision angered many of the domestic solar manufacturers that the Biden administration also wanted to help.

政府称暂停关税的决定是一种妥协。代表公用事业太阳能和储能公司的美国清洁能源协会等组织认为,征收关税将损害美国应对气候变化的努力。但这一决定激怒了许多拜登政府也想帮助的国内太阳能制造商。

In the two years since the Biden administration made the decision to pause the tariffs, solar prices have cratered, and solar panel imports have surged.

自拜登政府决定暂停关税以来的两年里,太阳能价格大幅下跌,太阳能电池板进口激增

Danny O’Brien, the president of corporate affairs for Qcells, which makes solar panels in Georgia, said there were nearly two year’s worth of subsidized, imported solar panels sitting in U.S. warehouses. “We welcome President Biden’s significant steps to level the playing field,” he said. “But if we want to build a durable domestic supply chain that meets our climate goals, continues to create jobs and adds to our energy security, the Biden administration’s industrial policies will need to evolve further and be forceful.”

在佐治亚州生产太阳能电池板的Qcells公司事务总裁丹尼·奥布莱恩说,美国仓库里堆积了近两年的补贴进口太阳能电池板。“我们欢迎拜登总统为创造公平竞争环境所采取的重大步骤,”他说。“但是,如果我们想建立一个持久的国内供应链,满足气候目标,继续创造就业机会,增进能源安全,拜登政府的产业政策需要进一步发展,而且要更加有力。”

Over the last year, Biden administration officials have grown increasingly vocal about the risk that imports pose, and the need to protect nascent factories, some of them in key electoral states.

过去一年里,拜登政府官员越来越直言不讳地谈到进口带来的风险,以及保护新兴工厂的必要性,其中一些工厂位于关键的选举州。

In March, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen delivered a speech in Norcross, Ga., at Suniva, a struggling solar manufacturer that has received subsidies through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Ms. Yellen noted that the company, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017, is now restarting production of solar cells this year.

今年3月,财政部长耶伦在佐治亚州诺克罗斯Suniva的工厂发表演讲。这是当地一家陷入困境的太阳能制造商,通过2022年《通货膨胀削减法案》获得了补贴。耶伦指出,该公司于2017年申请破产,今年将重新开始生产太阳能电池。

However, she also suggested that such investments could be threatened by China’s excess industrial capacity of green energy technology. “China’s overcapacity distorts global prices and production patterns and hurts American firms and workers, as well as firms and workers around the world,” she said.

不过,她也表示,此类投资可能会受到中国绿色能源技术工业产能过剩的威胁。“中国的产能过剩扭曲了全球价格和生产模式,伤害了美国企业和工人,也伤害了世界各地的企业和工人,”她说。

06dc solar 02 qgcm master1050俄亥俄州佩里斯堡的一家太阳能电池板工厂。在过去一年中,拜登政府越来越强烈地意识到进口产品所带来的风险。

The Treasury secretary raised the case of Suniva again in April at a news conference in Beijing, where she was meeting with senior Chinese officials. She recalled that Suniva’s financial troubles started more than a decade ago when China started ramping up its production of cheap solar panels.

在北京今年4月举行的新闻发布会上,耶伦与中国高级官员会面,再次提到了Suniva的情况。她回忆说,Suniva的财务问题始于十多年前,当时中国开始加大廉价太阳能电池板的生产。

While the firm now had more support from the U.S. government, she said, “the continued investment in capacity in these areas in China, that outstrips growing global demand, really could begin to threaten a company like this.”

她说,虽然该公司现在得到了美国政府更多的支持,但“中国在这些领域持续的产能投资,超过了不断增长的全球需求,确实可能开始威胁到像这样的公司”。

It’s not yet clear how many of the Chinese companies routing products through Southeast Asia will still face tariffs, if any. In the last two years, many have built up factories in Southeast Asia that may allow them to argue that they are doing substantial manufacturing there, not simply circumventing tariffs by routing goods through those countries, industry executives said.

目前尚不清楚有多少借道东南亚的中国公司仍将面临关税(如果有的话)。行业高管表示,在过去两年里,许多公司在东南亚建厂,这可能会让它们辩称它们在那里进行了实质性生产,而不仅仅是通过这些国家转运产品来规避关税。

In the meantime, U.S. solar makers have begun pressing for broader protections. In April, a group of American solar manufacturers filed another set of cases with the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission, asking them to investigate unfair subsidies and pricing practices from factories in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

与此同时,美国太阳能制造商开始要求更广泛的保护措施。今年4月,一群美国太阳能制造商向商务部和美国国际贸易委员会提起了另一系列诉讼,要求他们调查柬埔寨、马来西亚、泰国和越南工厂的不公平补贴和定价做法。

The commission is set to make an initial determination Friday about whether U.S. business have suffered injury from those practices. If it decides that they have, additional levies could be imposed on imports from Southeast Asia, the source of a majority of U.S. solar panels.

该委员会定于周五就美国企业是否因这些做法受到损害作出初步裁定。如果美国政府做出这样的决定,可能会对来自东南亚的进口产品征收额外关税。东南亚是美国太阳能电池板的主要来源地。

“We don’t expect that the lifting of the tariff holiday will have much of an impact because the Chinese-owned and Chinese-headquartered companies have already adjusted their manufacturing to avoid the circumvention case,” said Timothy Brightbill, a lawyer at Wiley Rein who is representing the U.S.-based solar manufacturers in the newer case. “Our case is extremely important because it sort of picks up where the circumvention case left off.”

“我们预计取消关税优惠不会产生太大影响,因为中国所有和总部设在中国的公司已经调整了生产方式,以避免规避案。”在这起最新案件中代表美国太阳能制造商的Wiley Rein律师事务所律师蒂莫西·布莱特比尔表示。“我们的案子非常重要,因为它在某种程度上是规避案的延续。”

The back-and-forth over the tariffs highlights a dilemma the United States faces as it tries sever some links to China. Cutting ties has been particularly difficult in green industries where China dominates global production, like solar panels, critical minerals and electric vehicle batteries.

围绕关税的反反复复凸显了美国在试图切断与中国的一些联系时面临的两难境地。在太阳能电池板、关键矿产和电动汽车电池等中国主导全球生产的绿色产业中,切断与中国的联系尤其困难。

China accounts for more than 80 percent of global solar supply at every stage of the production chain, from the raw material of polysilicon to the final panels.

从多晶硅的原材料到最终的太阳能电池板,在生产链的每个阶段,中国都占全球太阳能供应的80%以上。

Substantial support from the Chinese government — as well as the massive economies of scale that the Chinese industry has achieved — has allowed Chinese makers to offer their products at extremely low prices. According to data from Wood Mackenzie, solar modules cost just 9 to 11 cents per watt in China, compared with 27 to 33 cents a watt for those made in the United States. Many U.S. factories are currently selling modules either at cost or for negative profit margins in order to compete with imports, Wood Mackenzie said.

中国政府的大力支持,以及中国产业所取得的巨大经济规模效应,使中国制造商能够以极低的价格提供产品。根据伍德麦肯兹的数据,中国生产太阳能组件的成本仅为每瓦9至11美分,而在美国生产太阳能组件的成本为每瓦27至33美分。伍德麦肯兹表示,为了与进口产品竞争,许多美国工厂目前都以成本价或亏本价销售组件。

Those low prices triggered a surge in imports. According to data from S&P Global, the United States imported a record 54 gigawatts of solar panels in 2023, up 82 percent from 2022.

这些低价引发了进口激增。根据标准普尔全球的数据,美国在2023年进口了创纪录的54吉瓦太阳能电池板,比2022年增长了82%。

Some argue that the United States should simply take advantage of these cheap prices to build out its solar power supply. But the glut is also putting Mr. Biden’s plans to revive green energy manufacturing in the United States at risk. Some new manufacturers have been discouraged from opening facilities in the United States. In February, a Massachusetts company called CubicPV Inc. canceled plans to build a factory for solar wafers, citing collapsing prices.

一些人认为,美国应该利用这些低廉的价格来建立自己的太阳能供应。但供过于求也让拜登重振美国绿色能源制造业的计划面临风险。一些新的制造商被劝阻不要在美国开设工厂。今年2月,马萨诸塞州一家名为CubicPV Inc.的公司取消了建造太阳能晶圆工厂的计划,理由是价格暴跌

Under the rules, companies must technically install all of the solar panels that they brought into the United States tariff-free before December, or end up paying tariffs retroactively,

根据这些规定,从技术上讲,公司必须在12月之前安装所有免关税进入美国的太阳能电池板,否则要补缴关税。

“The scramble is on now for companies to use up their stock over the next six months,” said Mona Dajani, global co-chair of energy infrastructure and hydrogen at Baker Botts. “Many in the industry are sure to be keeping their eyes on how this impacts installation and pricing numbers in the coming weeks.”

“现在各家公司都忙着在未来六个月用完库存,”贝克博茨能源基础设施和氢能业务全球联席主席莫娜·达贾尼表示。“许多业内人士肯定会密切关注这对未来几周安装和定价数字的影响。”


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