US Solar Manufacturers File Trade Petition Against Solar Imports From Southeast Asia

The collective has urged for a probe against the illegal trade practices by these countries


In a significant move aimed at protecting the burgeoning U.S. solar manufacturing sector, the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee has filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions against solar imports from select Southeast Asian countries.

The petitions, lodged with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, target alleged illegal trade practices in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are believed to be detrimental to the American solar industry.

The petitioners—Convalt Energy, First Solar, Meyer Burger, Mission Solar, Qcells, REC Silicon, and Swift Solar—assert that these Southeast Asian countries, under the influence of Chinese industrial policy, are engaging in practices that undermine U.S. manufacturers by flooding the market with low-cost solar modules.

This has resulted in what the industry describes as a historic glut of solar modules in the U.S., with imports in 2023 outstripping installations by over 25 GW and prices plummeting by more than 50%.

US Solar Imports Quantity

US Solar Imports Value

According to the petition, U.S. imports of crystalline silicon cells and modules from March 2023 to February 2024 were primarily from Vietnam (28%), Thailand (24%), Malaysia (14%), and Cambodia (13%), with the rest coming from other countries (20%). The capacity and value of modules from the said countries amount to 47,949,154 kW and $15.85 million.

The petition estimates the dumping margin from Vietnam to be 271%, Cambodia 126%, Malaysia 81%, and Thailand 70%.

Estimated dumping margins

The petitioners claim that these Southeast Asian exporters are selling their products in the U.S. at prices below normal value, prompting a request for anti-dumping duties to counteract these low prices. They argue that the high volume of imports has significantly harmed the U.S. solar industry and could cause further damage. They recommend that the Department of Commerce initiate investigations and provide the requested relief.

The petitions follow a U.S. Department of Commerce finding last year, which identified that Chinese solar manufacturers were bypassing U.S. tariffs by routing their operations through subject Southeast Asian countries.

Despite a subsequent two-year tariff moratorium intended to allow time for supply chain adjustments, the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing contends that unfair practices persist unabated.

If the Commerce Department decides to initiate investigations based on these petitions, the process could extend over approximately one year, with preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping duties possibly being imposed within three to six months post-initiation.

The products in question include crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules, with the petitioners arguing for duties sufficient to counteract the unfairly low pricing and subsidies reported. The legal arguments hinge on the substantial market share controlled by Chinese-owned companies, which is asserted to exceed 80% globally.

The next steps involve the Commerce Department determining whether to initiate the investigations within 20 days of this filing, followed by a USITC preliminary determination of material injury or threat thereof within 45 days. Final dumping, subsidization, and injury determinations are expected by spring 2025.

This legal action marks a critical point for the U.S. in defining its stance on international trade practices in renewable energy sectors, particularly as it seeks to secure a robust, self-reliant supply chain for clean energy technologies. It also reflects broader geopolitical tensions around trade and technology transfer between the U.S. and China.

According to the investment banking firm ROTH Capital Partners, Indian solar exports could become a target for the anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions if the manufacturers consider the volume of exports from India significant enough for them to seek relief under this regime.