SEIA calls for Section 201 tariffs to be phased out ahead of key US ITC hearing

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
SEIA said the Section 201 tariffs have not achieved their aim of buoying US solar manufacturing. Image: First Solar.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has urged the Biden Administration to phase out the Section 201 tariffs on certain crystalline silicon PV cells from China ahead of a US International Trade Commission (USITC) hearing this week.

In a prehearing briefing, SEIA said the tariffs had “caused more harm than good”, have not improved the competitiveness of US manufacturing and have cost the US solar industry more than 30,000 jobs.

On Wednesday (3 November), the USITC will hear arguments on the effectiveness of the tariffs before making a recommendation to President Biden on whether to extend, change or phase out the tariffs.

Section 201 was imposed by President Trump in January 2018, with the stated goal of strengthening US solar manufacturing. SEIA said the tariffs “have only produced marginal investments in domestic module assembly facilities that fall well short of the capacity needed to serve US demand”.

The tariffs were introduced at a rate of 30%, declining by five percentage points each year for four years. However, then-President Trump issued a proclamation last October that imposed the safeguard duties on previously excluded bifacial panels and increased the tariff rate from 15% to 18% for its fourth year (2021).

In 2019, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rejected a challenge by China that claimed the measures broke global trade rules. China has since appealed that decision.

The tariffs are due to end in February 2022 and SEIA president and CEO Abigail Hopper said any extension “would be yet another barrier to clean energy deployment and will undermine any hope we have to mitigate this crisis”.

“The U.S. has collected US$2.6 billion in Section 201 solar tariffs, but not one cent of that helped the domestic manufacturing industry,” added Hopper.

SEIA had previously called on President Biden to scrap the tariffs but is now calling for a phased out approach, warning against any extension.

In its US Solar Market Insight report, published alongside Wood Mackenzie last week, SEIA said the potential for expanded and extended tariffs, in addition to supply chain constraints and the US government’s withhold release order, “pose downside risks to near-term growth” of the country’s solar sector.

Instead, it has called for increased federal investment to support US solar manufacturing, such as senator Jon Ossoff’s proposed Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act (SEMA).

“We need a robust domestic manufacturing sector in the U.S., and smart policy solutions such as senator Ossoff’s tax credit for solar manufacturing will help us make the long-term investments needed to step up domestic production,” Hopper said.

Last month, five manufacturers with US operations – Auxin Solar, Suniva, Q CELLS USA, LG Electronics USA and Mission Solar Energy – filed two separate petitions to extend the tariffs.

Read Next

November 24, 2021
The US International Trade Commission has recommended that the Section 201 safeguard tariffs on solar cells and modules be extended.
November 22, 2021
The US House of Representatives has passed Joe Biden’s Build Back Better act, which now moves to the Senate where negotiations will continue over the legislation that includes clean energy and climate investments totalling US$555 billion.
November 18, 2021
Hanwha Solutions Corporation has agreed to buy a 16.67% stake in Norwegian polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon in a deal worth around US$160 million, with the South Korean chemical company looking to reopen REC Silicon’s 20,000MT polysilicon factory in the US
November 17, 2021
Prices for solar modules in the US are expected to normalise following last week’s rejection of a petition surrounding alleged anti-circumvention of anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD).
November 16, 2021
An exemption for bifacial solar panels from Section 201 tariffs in the US has been reinstated after a decision passed down by the US Court of International Trade (CIT).
November 16, 2021
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has appointed US Department of Energy (DOE) veteran Jeremiah Miller as its new director of storage markets and policy

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 1, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal