- US Department of Commerce has issued final determination for solar tariff circumvention inquiry into imported Chinese modules
- It has found BYD Hong Kong, New East Solar, Canadian Solar, Trina Solar and LONGi’s Vina Solar were in breach of rules
- Hanwha Q Cells, JinkoSolar and Boviet Solar were found to be in compliance
- SEIA says this will cause uncertainty in the US solar market at a time when the industry needs to grow faster
The US Department of Commerce has upheld the preliminary findings of its circumvention inquiry into imports of solar cells and modules from China and has named 5 leading suppliers as the offenders in its final determination. The list includes New East Solar that was let off the hook in the preliminary findings.
The investigation found that the 5 companies were attempting to avoid the payment of US duties by undertaking minor processing in the Southeast Asian nations of Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and/or Vietnam to avoid paying antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD). Module imports from these 4 nations make up as much as 80% of the US demand.
BYD Hong Kong and New East Solar were found to be circumventing via Cambodia, Canadian Solar and Trina Solar from Thailand, and LONGi’s Vina Solar from Vietnam, as determined previously (see US Finds Chinese Companies Dodging Circumvention Tariffs).
Hanwha Q Cells, JinkoSolar and Boviet Solar were given a clean chit. Some other companies that did not respond to the department’s request for information (RFI) were also found guilty of circumventing.
“Companies in these countries will be permitted to certify that they are not circumventing the AD/CVD orders, in which case the circumvention findings will not apply,” stated the department that launched the investigation following a petition from Auxin Solar.
Nonetheless, the federal agency reiterated that the final determination does not mean a ban on imports of modules from these countries till June 2024, to comply with the Presidential Proclamation (see Biden Saves The Day For US Solar Industry).
Industry body Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is not happy with the results, saying the Department of Commerce is ‘out of step with the administration’s clean energy goals’ and that it disagrees with the decision.
“Auxin Solar’s allegations of circumvention were meritless from the beginning and the inquiries have caused uncertainty in the US market at a time when solar energy is on the rise. The final affirmative determinations only perpetuate current supply problems, given the lack of adequate domestic supply of cells and modules,” argued SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.
The US has attracted solar manufacturing announcements worth 155 GW within a year of the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022. However, this capacity is not expected to come online anytime soon, hence the market remains dependent on cost-competitive Chinese solar modules at present (see Inflation Reduction Act For Solar: Report Card).