The US has rejected the European Union’s request for an alternative to the US safeguard measure on imports of crystalline silicon solar cells that would be less penalising on imports from the EU, according to a joint communication filed with the WTO on 19 March.

The two parties held consultations on 15 February after the EU submitted a complaint at the WTO calling for the discussions over the 30% import tariffs enacted by the Trump administration.

The filing stated: “In particular, the European Union asserted that EU imports were not causing any serious injury due to their volume and higher prices. Thus, it suggested a form of measure that would be less penalizing for European Union imports such as a quota allocated by country or a minimum import price. The United States did not agree with this.”

Moreover, no agreement was reached on compensation for the EU.

However, both parties have agreed to monitor the impact of the measures on trade flows and continue these discussions, and they have also agreed that their reciprocal rights and obligations under the Safeguards Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 will be maintained.

A total of eight countries or unions have filed complaints at the WTO over the US safeguard measures - the latest to do so being Vietnam - but this is the first case where an outcome of consultations has been announced.

The last Section 201 case regarding steel tariffs imposed by the US was overturned by the WTO in 2003. Furthermore, several Canadian solar manufacturers, Silfab, Heliene, Canadian Solar and Canadian Solar Solutions, also filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, claiming that they will suffer “immediate, severe, and irreversible injuries” as a result of the new safeguard measures.

Tags: section 201, us, eu, wto, safeguard duties

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