Trump-era Tariffs on Solar Imports Needed to Protect US Manufacturers: USITC

The relief will end on February 6, 2022, unless extended by the President

November 26, 2021


The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has said that import relief to American industries producing crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells is imperative to prevent serious injury to domestic manufacturers.

There is evidence that the domestic industry is making a ‘positive adjustment’ to competition from imports, USITC concluded. It had instituted an investigation after receiving multiple petitions requesting an extension of the relief filed by Auxin Solar, Suniva, Hanwha Q CELLS, LG Electronics USA, and Mission Solar Energy.

The investigation was instituted to determine whether the relief provided by the President continues to be necessary to prevent serious injury and whether there is evidence that the industry is making a positive adjustment to import competition.

USITC will forward its report and determination to the President by December 8, 2021. The President will decide whether to extend the import relief, which will end on February 6, 2022, unless extended.

On January 23, 2018, following an affirmative injury determination by USITC under the global safeguard law, former President Donald Trump had imposed a tariff-rate quota on imports of solar cells, not partially or fully assembled into other products. Trump had also increased duties on imports of modules. The changes took effect on February 7, 2018, for four years.

The U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) had overturned the Trump administration’s decision to allow the reimposition of tariffs on imported bifacial solar panels. In addition to excluding tariffs on bifacial solar modules, it had also reduced the safeguard tariff on crystalline silicon photovoltaic solar panels from 18% to 15%. The Trump administration had raised the tariff to 18% in 2020.

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently rejected a circumvention petition filed by an anonymous group of domestic solar manufacturers known as American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention, or A-SMACC, seeking an inquiry into the imports of solar products produced in Chinese-owned factories in Asia.