Yesterday (Oct. 31) the US International Trade Commission (ITC) made recommendations in the Suniva trade case. The case for implementing tariffs was supported by SolarWorld Americas and First Solar, but widely opposed by the rest of the US solar industry. However, in ITC’s recommendations both sides of the solar industry saw hope.
In a statement Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper observed: “The commissioners clearly took a thoughtful approach to their recommendations and it’s worth noting that in no case did a commissioner recommend anything close to what the petitioners asked for.” She added, “That being said, proposed tariffs would be intensely harmful to our industry. While we will have to spend more time evaluating the details of each recommendation, we are encouraged by three commissioners’ reference to alternative funding mechanisms, including our import license fee proposal.”
SolarWorld, which has largely championed the trade case, also saw promise in the recommendations. “We are pleased that a bipartisan majority of the Commission has recommended tariffs, tariff-rate quotas and funding for the domestic industry. This is a useful first step. The process will now move forward to the President, and we continue to believe that the remedies SolarWorld has recommended are the right ones for this industry at this time,” said Juergen Stein, CEO and president of SolarWorld Americas.
SEIA stated that none of the commissioners recommended tariffs high as even half of what SolarWorld and Suniva wanted, nor did they recommended a specific tariff. Three commissioners recommended an ad valorem tariff, which would be a percentage of the cost of an imported cell or module at the border.
“We must ensure countries cannot undermine the remedies by underpricing their products in the US market,” Stein said. “We look forward to President Trump establishing remedies that will place this industry back on a path of robust growth and put manufacturing workers back to work in an industry that will be a key to our nation’s future.”
Also, SEIA noted that none of the commissioners recommended a hard quota with a tariff. the industry organization also noted that one commissioner embraced SEIA’s proposal to reinvest any such funds collected into domestic manufacturing industry.
“We remain committed to working with all parties to find a solution that supports domestic cell and panel manufacturing without cratering demand for American-produced solar energy,” Hopper said.
The organization will work with the Trump Administration to reach a solution. It contended that tariffs will hurt the industry as have many others including a large, bipartisan group of lawmakers.Tweet