July 26 (Renewables Now) - The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) has been formed in the US to fight against protectionist measures such as the solar import tariff and floor price proposed by Suniva in its Section 201 petition.
The coalition has been launched on Friday by a group of companies, associations and organisations to work to “preserve the principles of free trade in a global marketplace”. It will actively engage to inform decision makers, the media and public of the importance of maintaining access to globally priced products.
Us photovoltaics (PV) maker Suniva Inc in April filed the Section 201 petition, seeking relief against solar imports from all geographic sources. It proposes a minimum price on crystalline silicon (C-si) PV modules of USD 0.78 (EUR 0.67) per watt, and a tariff on cells of USD 0.40 per watt in the first year. GTM Research calculates that the USD 0.78/W price is equal to 2012 prices for imported Chinese modules.
SolarWorld Americas Inc, whose German parent SolarWorld AG (ETR:SWV) is in insolvency proceedings, is a co-petitioner in the Section 201 safeguards case. The International Trade Commission (ITC) has to make an injury determination by September 22. Specific trade barriers can be recommended to the president by November 13, in which case Trump will have 60 days to act on the recommendation.
ETAC warns that if successful, the petition would slash solar demand and make solar energy less competitive with other sources of power.
“Protectionism is never the solution for an inability to compete globally,” said Bill Gaskin, former President of the Precision Metalforming Association.
“The solar case is an example of the worst kind of trade protectionism. We're delighted to stand for freedom and free markets,” said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute.
Introducing the tariffs on imported solar cells and the minimum module prices as proposed by Suniva could cost the US up to 47.5 GW of lost solar installations between 2018 and 2022, according to GTM.
(USD 1 = EUR 0.86)