A bipartisan group of US senators has waded into the contentious anti-dumping circumvention investigation, strongly urging the Biden administration to expedite the review.
In a letter signed by 22 US Senators led by Jacky Rosen, Martin Heinrich and Kyrsten Sinema, US President Joe Biden and other administration officials were asked to accelerate a preliminary determination and reject the petition to retroactively impose any sanctions to the alleged circumvention of antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) by solar manufacturers in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Initiation of this investigation is already causing massive disruption in the solar industry, and it will severely harm American solar businesses and workers and increase costs for American families as long as it continues.
“Initiation of the investigation is already negatively impacting the U.S. solar industry, and the longer this situation persists, the more acute the damage will be,” the letter reads.
The full text of the letter can be seen here.
Senators have also requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the issue.
Moreover, during a commerce committee hearing last week, senator Rosen pressed commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, about accelerating the review of the AD/CVD case before its 29 August deadline as well as asking her about policies from her department to help increase domestic solar manufacturing.
While senators expressed to the president their support for a domestic solar manufacturing supply chain, they also stressed the importance of meeting current market demand for solar products in the US.
If the investigation by the Department of Commerce (DOC) is not addressed rapidly and tariffs are imposed, it would cause more than 100,000 jobs being lost, recent poling by trade body the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has found.
Furthermore, the investigation has already caused disruptions to the industry, prompting SEIA to slash its solar installation forecast by 24GW over the next two years.
AD/CVD investigation in detail
The launch of the investigation followed a petition from US-based module manufacturer Auxin Solar, filed in February 2022, and comes after the DOC rejected in November 2021 a similarly-framed petition by a group of US-based solar manufacturers that remained anonymous.
The investigation itself is to last around one year, after which the DOC will conclude whether or not it has evidence of circumvention. Preliminary findings of the investigation are to be published on or before 30 August 2022, at which time a preliminary duty figure will also be announced.
The earliest a final decision could feasibly be announced is 26 January 2023, however this could still be extended until 1 April 2023.
If Commerce rules in favour of the petition, tariffs up to 250% could be applied to solar cells and/or modules originating from the countries in question and applied retroactively from 4 November 2021.
The date at which tariffs would be applied will be determined by commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo.