The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Friday narrowly approved a determination that U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by imports of unfairly subsidized utility-scale wind towers from China and Vietnam. The ITC’s determination gives the Department of Commerce the green light to issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of those products from the two countries.

Three commissioners affirmed that the domestic industry is materially injured or threatened by imports of Chinese and Vietnamese wind towers and three others voted in the negative, but a tie vote is awarded to the petitioner in antidumping and countervailing duty cases. In this case, petitioners for the investigation were members of the Wind Tower Trade Coalition: Broadwind Towers, from Manitowoc, Wisc.; Fargo, N.D.–based DMI Industries; Columbus, Neb.–based Katana Summit LLC; and Trinity Structural Towers of Dallas, Texas.

The merchandise covered by the investigation involves utility scale wind towers made of steel, which support the nacelle and rotor blades for use in wind turbines with a capacity of more than 100 kW. Nacelles and rotor blades are specifically excluded. According to the ITC, in 2011, the U.S. had 13 producers of wind towers or sections of wind towers. In that year, the U.S. imported $222 million of wind towers from China (and $103.5 million in 2010) and $79 million from Vietnam ($52.85 million in 2010)–compared to an estimated $155.9 million from other countries such as Canada, Indonesia, South Korea, and Mexico.

The Department of Commerce (DOC) last month announced its affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigation. It determined that producers/exporters from China and Vietnam had sold utility scale wind towers in the U.S. at dumping margins of 44.99% to 70.63% and 51.50% to 58.49% respectively. The DOC also determined that Chinese wind tower makers had received countervailable subsidies of 21.86% to 34.81%.

The final determinations mean that the DOC will ask U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits equal to the applicable weighted-average dumping margins or to the final net subsidy rates.

Sources: POWERnews, ITC, DOC

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)