Trade asks anti-dumping group for more information, keeping solar tariff issue alive and unresolved – pv magazine USA
The US Department of Commerce decided on September 29 not to reject a trio of petitions to impose anti-dumping tariffs on imports of solar equipment from three Asian countries. Instead, the ministry asked the group of anonymous companies to amend their petitions to provide more details.
In a letter to the lawyers who represent the companies, Abdelali Elouaradia, who heads the department’s anti-dumping operations, asked that the petitioners be named and that they have standing to initiate the petitions. The letter also asked lawyers to explain how the companies would face retaliation if identified. And he asked if any of the group members had any sales or production interests in Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam, the three countries named in the petitions, or if they were buying wafers, bullion or bullion. other materials to Chinese companies. The letter requested that the names and details of the items be provided.
The letter gave petitioners until October 6 to respond. Commerce would then reset its review schedule by adding 45 days to review amended petitions.
In a statement, Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said the industry trade group was “disappointed that Commerce did not dismiss these baseless petitions out of hand. “. She said the detail and nature of the questions Commerce posed to the anonymous claimants “makes it clear that the petitioners have produced a record largely devoid of the information the Department needs to assess whether to initiate this case.” She said SEIA believes that “when and if the petitioners modify their original submission, it will become quite clear that they have no cases of circumvention.”
In a separate statement, Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association (ACP), said her group believed the petitioners’ requests “would ultimately be dismissed because the case has no merit.” She said ACP member companies have indicated that they will have to stop or cancel solar projects currently under development if the investigation is opened. “Going forward with this case would cause serious damage to the solar industry in the United States and jeopardize the economic and climate goals of the Biden administration.”
Lawyers for the petitioners said that Chinese producers subject to existing AD / CVD duties have set up affiliate operations in third countries and moved the end of the production process while “keeping as much of the subsidized supply chain, of labor, R&D and investment. as possible in China. He said this was done to avoid paying the required anti-dumping / countervailing duties. “Almost all of the raw materials, R&D and capital investment still come from China,” the law firm said. “These factories exist only to serve the US market and to avoid AD / CVD duties. This is the very definition of bypass.
“The biggest risk”
In mid-August, three petitions filed by U.S. solar manufacturers against Chinese circumvention called on the Commerce Department to impose anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on a handful of producers of photovoltaic cells and modules. imported crystalline silicon. from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
At a press conference on September 27, SEIA said the petitions should be dismissed on the merits. More generally, the industry trade group said the tariffs would cripple the U.S. solar industry and impact the country’s plans to tackle climate change. The group said that nearly 80% of all solar modules are imported from countries, including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
AD / CVD tariffs could result in the loss of 45,000 solar energy workers by 2023.
George Hershman, president and CEO of Swinerton Renewable Energy, said 90 to 95 percent of the modules his company plans to import could be affected. And he said “100%” of the 7.5 GW of projects his company has in the pipeline for this year and next are at risk.
“This is absolutely the biggest risk and problem for our business and the industry,” Hershman said at the press conference hosted by SEIA. Hershman chairs the executive committee of the business group.
Justin Baca, SEIA vice president of markets and research, said AD / CVD tariffs could result in the loss of 45,000 solar energy workers by 2023.
SEIA said there is not enough capacity outside the three countries to meet growing domestic demand for solar power. Markus Wilhelm, CEO of Strata Clean Energy, said solar power depends on a global supply chain and is therefore “vulnerable” to possible disruption to trade.
Lawyers for the applicant companies have disputed allegations that supply chains are inadequate to continue to meet US solar demand. “There are many non-Chinese and fairly marketed capacities available to meet US solar demand from non-target companies in these countries and the rest of the world, in addition to new and growing capacities from US producers,” the law said. Wiley Rein. said the firm. He said the capacity to manufacture “tier one” solar modules remains available whether it is non-Chinese or not subject to circumvention investigations. He estimated this capacity at 30 GW or more per year.
“Solar projects in the United States should not depend on unfair and illegal business practices, whether it is Chinese dumped and directly subsidized prices or dumped prices. and subsidized Chinese affiliates in countries circumventing AD / CVD rights, ”the company said in a statement.
Objective of the petition
The anonymous business group has filed the petitions through law firm Wiley Rein asking the Department to investigate what it called “unfair commercial imports” from the three countries. The group said the circumvention of anti-dumping and tariffs on Chinese solar products had “hampered US industry, gutted our supply chains and endangered our clean energy future.”
The group asked the Commerce Department to investigate the following companies:
- Malaysia: Jinko Solar Technology Sdn. Bhd .; LONGi (Kuching) Sdn. Bhd. and its subsidiary Vina Cell Technology Company Limited and Vina Solar Technology Company Limited; JA Solar (Malaysia) Co., Ltd. or JA Solar Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
- Thailand: Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Thailand) Co., Ltd .; Trina Solar Science & Technology (Thailand) Co., Ltd .; Talesun Solar Technologies Thailand or Talesun Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd. ; Astro Solar Energy Thailand Co., Ltd
- Vietnam: Trina Solar (Vietnam) Science & Technology Co., Ltd. ; Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Vietnam) Co., Ltd .; China Sunergy Co., Ltd. In Vietnam ; Boviet Solar Technology (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. or Boviet Solar Technology Co., Ltd. ; GCL System Integration Technology (Vietnam) Co. Ltd. ; Vina Cell Technology Company Limited and Vina Solar Technology Company Limited; LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd .; JinkoSolar (Vietnam) Co., Ltd.
If the Commerce Department initiates an investigation, all duties would be retroactive to the initiation of the investigation, which is why companies report an immediate effect on their operations.
Hershman told reporters that the largest solar panel makers have already said they will not ship products for his company’s projects. “We are not able to issue purchase orders,” he said.
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