U.S. panel OKs duties on China, Vietnam wind towers

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:36pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. trade panel on Friday narrowly approved punitive duties for five years on hundreds of millions of dollars of wind towers from China and Vietnam.

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 3-3 that U.S. producers were either materially injured or threatened with material injury by unfairly priced and subsidized imports from the two countries.

A tie vote goes to the petitioner in U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases.

The United States imported $222 million of wind towers from China last year and about $79 million from Vietnam.

The tall steel towers support turbines that generate electricity from the wind.

U.S. producers have complained that unfair Asian competition was forcing them to close plants and shed jobs.

The ITC vote clears the way for the Commerce Department to issue anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on the wind towers.

The department announced its final duty determinations last month in the case.

It set final anti-dumping duties ranging from 44.99 to 70.63 percent on utility-scale towers manufactured in China and additional countervailing duties of 21.86 to 34.81 percent to combat Chinese government subsidies.

The department slapped final anti-dumping duties of 51.40 to 58.49 percent on wind towers from Vietnam. There was not a subsidy component to the complaint against Vietnam.

Importers have been required since last year to post bonds or cash deposits based on preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing duty rates.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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