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Workers install a solar panel in the Gansu province. Canada’s border watchdog say cheap solar panels are being dumped into Canada.

Reuters

Canada's border watchdog has confirmed its ruling that cheap subsidized solar panels are being dumped into Canada.

In its final decision released Wednesday, the Canada Border Services Agency said it has determined that the photovoltaic modules and laminates from China have been subsidized by the Chinese government and sold in Canada at cut-rate prices. When the agency issued its preliminary ruling in March, it imposed stiff provisional import duties to protect Canadian manufacturers of solar panels, ranging from 9 to 286 per cent.

Those provisional duties will remain in place for now, although a final ruling in the case rests with another government body – the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. The CITT will determine specifically how much damage has been done to Canada's domestic panel makers. It is conducting hearings into the matter, and after the full inquiry is complete it will make a final, detailed ruling on the matter and what should be done about it.

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The two government bodies waded into the solar-dumping issue after four Ontario-based solar-panel makers complained they were being hurt by competition from cheap Chinese imports. The panel manufacturers – Eclipsall Manufacturing Corp., Heliene Inc., Silfab Solar Inc. and Solgate Inc. – said unfair competition was cutting into their sales and market share, and putting them under pressure to cut their prices.

Panel makers had already been hurt by Ontario's elimination of local-content rules, which had forced solar installers to buy a proportion of their equipment from local manufacturers. Ontario dropped those requirements to satisfy a ruling from the World Trade Organization.

Some participants in the solar industry have said that import duties will boost the price of panels and depress demand, which could dent enthusiasm for solar power and slow the shift to renewable energy in Canada.

Several other countries – including the United States – have also found that Chinese solar panels were dumped into their markets, and have put in place punitive tariffs. Australia recently ruled that some Chinese manufacturers dumped panels in that country, but it said the tiny local industry was not harmed sufficiently to justify imposing countervailing duties.

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