- American solar module maker Auxin Solar has filed a petition with US Commerce Department to file anti-circumvention tariffs for solar cells assembled in certain Southeast Asian nations
- The countries identified are Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia, according to Roth Capital Partners
- Purview of the petition only covers C-Si modules, so it won’t negatively impact First Solar’s fabs in Malaysia and Vietnam
- Roth believes it would be a new risk for the US solar industry as the tariffs will be retroactive to the date the department takes on the case
The ongoing solar trade tariff saga in the US has one more addition as the US Department of Commerce has been approached by local solar panel manufacturer and OEM company Auxin Solar to initiate anti-circumvention tariffs enquiry for solar crystalline silicon solar cells assembled in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia, thereby avoiding anti-dumping and countervailing duties in place for imports from China.
According to Roth Capital Partners, the anti-circumvention case filed by Auxin Solar concerns only crystalline silicon (c-Si ) solar modules, hence First Solar’s Southeast Asia facilities in Vietnam and Malaysia will not fall under its purview since the American manufacturer produces silicon free thin-film solar modules using CdTe technology.
The department now has 30 days (roughly around March 10, 2022) to decide if the case has merit and then take it up. If it does get accepted by the department, it would be a ‘meaningful positive’ for First Solar.
Philip Shen of Roth calls it a new risk for the US solar industry as these tariffs will be retroactive to the date the department takes on the case. Even if the department doesn’t take it up, Auxin Solar may explore other avenues including under the America COMPETES Act 2022 that was recently passed by the House.
Short for America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength, the America COMPETES Act 2022 aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the US economy and businesses and counters anti-competitive actions taken by China, as per the US House Committee on Financial Services.
Nonetheless, Roth analysts see Auxin Solar’s petition as curing all the ‘deficiencies’ of the 1st anti-circumvention case. For the record, the latter refers to the anti-circumvention request by a group of anonymous solar module makers from the US who rallied under the common name of American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC), represented by law firm Wiley. The Department of Commerce had rejected A-SMACC’s request stating the group’s refusal to identify individual members as the reason for the rejection (see US Rejects A-SMACC’s Tariff Requests).
Recently, the US President Joe Biden signed on an order to extend tariffs on imported silicon solar cells and modules under Section 201 for another 4 years, while exempting bifacial panels (see US Extends Section 201 Tariffs).
Auxin Solar is one of the companies that sought extension of the tariffs, according to Reuters. It is also one of the names supporting Georgian Senator Jon Ossoff’s Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act (SEMA) (see US Senator Wants Tax Credit For Local Manufacturers).