Restraining order issued against Trump bid to close bifacial tariff exemption

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Trump had issued a Presidential Proclamation regarding an extension of Section 201 tariffs earlier this month. Image: Flickr/BCLinessmith

US President Donald Trump’s bid to repeal the exemption of bifacial solar panels from trade tariffs has been officially blocked again.

The US Court of International Trade issued a temporary restraining order over the weekend, preventing the exemption of bifacial PV panels from Section 201 tariffs on solar imports from being removed.

That restraining order will last for two weeks from Saturday 24 October 2020, unless the court takes further action during that time.

The delay is potentially significant considering the timeframe the Trump Administration is running to in order to force through the repeal. Having unveiled plans to repeal the exemption in a Presidential Proclamation issued on 10 October, the US Trade Representative could have requested the International Trade Commission to conduct an investigation which could have been filed within three months.

While US citizens take to the polls on 3 November 2020, either Trump or his Democrat rival Joe Biden will not be sworn in until 20 January 2021.

With Biden holding a healthy lead in a majority of polls, the Trump Administration is therefore running out of time to push through any prospective legislature.

The restraining order, issued by Judge Gary Katzmann, who has proceeded over the application of Section 201 duties in numerous cases, was widely expected, and paves the way for further rulings against the US government pending a judicial challenge.

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