US commerce department rejects request for circumvention solar tariffs

Solar panels in USA. Author: Pete Jelliffe. License: Creative Commons. Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

November 11 (Renewables Now) - The US Department of Commerce on Wednesday refused to open an investigation into the possible circumvention of antidumping and countervailing duties on Chinese solar products through imports from three countries in Southeast Asia.

Circumvention tariffs on solar cells and modules exported by certain companies from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were requested in August by a group of anonymous petitioners, dubbed the American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC).

The letter issued by the Department of Commerce yesterday says that “not disclosing A-SMACC members’ names publicly hampers interested parties from fully commenting on the requests for circumvention inquiries and may hamper them from commenting on certain issues that could arise if Commerce were to initiate circumvention inquiries.”

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) hailed Commerce’s decision. It said that if the circumvention tariffs were imposed, they would have led to the loss of 46,000 solar jobs in the space of two years.

“The petitions have already had a chilling effect on the industry’s supply chain, and if imposed, we would have seen massive project cancellations and job losses within days,” said SEIA president and chief executive Abigail Ross Hopper, who described Commerce’s rejection as a major victory for America's 231,000 solar workers.

“Today’s decision, coupled with investments from the Build Back Better Act, will enable the solar industry to lead America’s transition to a prosperous clean energy future,” the association's head added.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) also applauded the decision, saying the anti-circumvention investigation request had been motivated by parties seeking a competitive advantage.

“If this investigation had been initiated, it would have meant long-term damaging consequences for our nation’s energy goals and the 230,000 Americans the solar industry currently employs,” said ACP chief executive Heather Zichal.

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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