On June 6, 2022, President Biden declared a national emergency (the “Declaration”) in relation to energy resources and temporarily extended the time of duty-free importation of solar panels and parts from Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. This declaration comes in response to industry concerns over the implications, for ongoing solar energy projects, of the anti-circumvention inquiry by the U.S. Department of Commerce that was initiated on April 1, 2022. The Declaration permits the Secretary of Commerce to waive the collection of duties and other estimated duties on imported solar cells and modules from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia for the next twenty-four months, regardless of the outcome of the anti-circumvention inquiry.
Jeffrey has more than 25 years of experience representing private parties in international trade remedies disputes in the U.S. and in foreign jurisdictions. He guides clients in matters including antidumping investigations, countervailing duties, subsidies, intellectual property disputes as well as related customs, export control, and other import/export issues.
The solar industry is reeling from an announcement made by the US Department of Commerce (“DOC”) this week that the agency has decided to initiate country-wide anti-circumvention inquiries regarding crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, to determine whether imports into the US from those countries using parts and components from China are circumventing the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on solar cells and modules from China. …
Continue Reading Department of Commerce Initiates Tariff Investigation on Imported Photovoltaic Panels, Rocking Solar Industry
The announcement of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) on January 22, 2018, that the Trump Administration is granting relief for the domestic solar panels and modules industry under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, confirmed the fears of many consumers that substantial additional duties would be imposed on those products. USTR announced that the relief would come in the form of a tariff increase of 30% in the first year, decreasing to 25% in year two, 20% in year three, and then to 15% in year four. On January 23, 2018, President Trump signed the Proclamation implementing the relief. The relief will go into effect on February 7, 2018.
Despite the above tariffs, the relief announced provides that the first 2.5 gigawatts of imported cells are excluded from the additional tariffs. The use of the exemption for the first 2.5 gigawatts makes the relief a form of a “tariff rate quota,” meaning that tariffs only apply if imports rise above a certain quota amount. This type of relief has been imposed in the past, including on certain steel products. The ITC Commissioners made various recommendations to the President in this case, some of which included types of tariff rate quotas.
The nature of the relief will mean that exporters now are likely want to rush to import their products in order to be within the 2.5 gigawatt exclusion. The Proclamation states that the quota of 2.5 gigawatts “shall be allocated among all countries except those countries the product of which are excluded from such tariff rate quotas…” While this statement seems to imply that there will be a base time period used to determine different market shares within the total quota for different countries, our discussions with government officials indicate that this was not what was intended. Instead, the intention was to have one worldwide quota of 2.5 gigawatts that will apply to all countries, without any allocation among countries. Regardless of whether allocations are made among countries or there is just one overall quota, if shipments are made in the hope that they will fall within the exclusion but the 2.5 gigawatt quota already is filled at the time of entry, the 30% tariff that then will be applied may change the economics of a deal if the possibility of a tariff has not been taken into account. It is not clear at this time whether there will be some kind of pre-clearance for such imports before the time of exportation, or whether there will be a free-for-all at the time of entry.
Continue Reading Solar Panels and Modules Trade Decision Creates New Uncertainty for Purchasers
On October 31, 2017, the United States International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) announced its remedy recommendations for the Section 201 Investigation on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic (“CSPV”) Cells and Modules.
The Commission will send its report along with its remedy recommendations to the President by …
Continue Reading ITC Recommends Remedies in Solar Cells Section 201 Case
As we discussed in a previous post, the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that U.S. producers are being seriously injured or are threatened with serious injury by imports of silicon photovoltaic cells and modules. As the case now advances to the remedy phase, companies, countries and trade organizations on all sides of the matter weighed in with their official recommendations for a suggested remedy.
Petitioner, Suniva, lowered the tariff suggestion from its original filing from $0.40 to a minimum of $0.24 per watt for standard crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells, with similar proposals from California-based manufacturer Auxin Solar and Oregon’s SolarWorld Americas.
Continue Reading U.S. Solar Manufacturers and Foreign Parties Offer Trade Remedies to ITC
The U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) found that U.S. producers are being seriously injured or are threatened with serious injury by imports of silicon photovoltaic cells and modules. The case now moves quickly to the remedy phase at the ITC. Prehearing briefs on remedy must be filed by the parties by September 27, a hearing on remedy will be held on October 3, and post-hearing briefs will be filed on October 10. The ITC is scheduled to vote on remedy on October 31 and will send it recommendations to the President by November 13. The President then will have 60 days to accept or modify the recommendations of the ITC.
Continue Reading ITC Finds “Serious Injury” to U.S. Manufacturers from Foreign Imports of PV Cells and Modules.