US DOJ appeals Section 201 bifacial exemption repeal

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The DOJ has now appealed the verdict handed down by Judge Katzmann, paving the way for the exemption for bifacial panels to be removed. Image: Flickr/Matt Wade.

The US Government has appealed against the reinstatement of an exemption from Section 201 tariffs for bifacial modules.

Late last week the Department of Justice (DOJ) lodged a formal appeal against a decision handed down in mid-November last year by Judge Katzmann of the US Court of International Trade. That decision found that the government had overstepped in repealing the exemption, with former US President Donald Trump found in particular to have overstepped his authority when repealing the exemption just weeks before he left office.

However it is considered that the exemption for bifacial panels was essentially issued in error, and the appeal from the DOJ is the start of a legal process towards formally removing the exemption.

The DOJ had until 18 January 2022 in which to appeal the decision, but did so formally on Friday 14 January.

In response to the appeal, John Smirnow, general counsel and VP of market strategy at US trade body the Solar Energy Industries Association, described the US Government’s prolonging of the case as a “misstep” that “provides no benefit to the American workers, public or clean energy goals”.

The US solar industry continues to wait for a decision from President Biden on the future of Section 201 tariffs, which are due to expire next month. In December the US International Trade Commission recommended the tariffs be extended for a further four years – with some minor amends – however Biden could still ignore that recommendation.

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