- USITC recommends the government to continue imposing Trump era Section 201 tariffs on imported crystalline silicon solar cells
- It sees the domestic manufacturing industry making positive adjustments in the present situation
- SEIA sees the tariffs as ineffective in incentivizing local solar manufacturing
The US International Trade Commission (USITC) deems it fit to continue with Section 201 tariffs on imported solar products entering the US and has recommended the same to the government, leaving President Joe Biden to take the final call.
According to the USITC tariffs on crystalline silicon solar cells, whether or partially or fully assembled into other products, continue to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury to the US industry. It says there is evidence that the domestic industry is making a positive adjustment to import competition with the tariffs in place.
For the record, Section 201 tariffs were imposed by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump in 2018 for a period of 4 years. Current level of tariff is 15% and is likely to cease on February 6, 2022, unless extended.
The USITC recommendation hasn’t gone down well with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) that sees the tariffs as an ‘ineffective’ way to incentivize solar manufacturing and create jobs for locals since it hampers faster deployment of solar to meet the country’s energy goals. It counts the tariffs to have cost the US 62,000 solar jobs (see US Solar Tariffs Claim Over 62K Local Jobs, Says SEIA).
“It’s time to enact real industrial policy, like Senator Ossoff’s Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, to foster and grow the solar manufacturing sector here at home,” according to SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “We are urging President Biden to take a different approach from the previous administration and reject these tariffs.”
However, some US PV manufacturers, united as American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC), have been wanting further tariffs for Chinese companies shipping their cells and modules from Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, which the US Department of Commerce has rejected recently (see US Rejects A-SMACC’s Tariff Requests).
Moving forward, the commission plans to submit its report and determination to Biden by December 8, 2021. It remains to be seen what stance Biden would take since his administration is aiming for solar energy to claim 40% of the national electricity mix by 2035 (see US Wants 40% Electricity From Solar By 2035).
Meanwhile, a US court recently excluded imported bifacial solar panels from the ambit of Section 201 tariffs (see Once Again, No Section 201 For Bifacial Panels).