It seems Trump may stoke the trade war flames with China once more after the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a new list of products covered under the Section 301 action against China for intellectual property (IP) violations. In this new list, the USTR has targeted solar cells and modules from China for an additional proposed 25 percent tariff.
Here is Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO of SEIA, on what this means for the industry.
This is not a final decision. USTR broke its determination into two lists: the first made up of products with final determinations and the second subject to additional review. Solar cells and modules are part of the second list.
The USTR included cells and panels under the obscure sounding category:
- 8541.40.60 | Diodes for semiconductor devices, other than light-emitting diodes
This category covers the more specific 10-digit items in which cells and modules are typically classified.
In the coming weeks, USTR will initiate a public notice and comment process, likely including a public hearing. We don’t know yet how long that process will take, but it is likely to last 30-60 days. After that process is complete, USTR will issue a final determination as to which of the items on its second list released today will be subject to the duties.
Normally, once a final determination is issued, it becomes effective 30 days later. That deadline could be extended up to 180 days, in the president’s discretion, if he is in negotiations with the Chinese government to resolve the underlying dispute over Chinese IP violations.
If finalized, this would increase tariffs by 25 percent for cells and panels coming from China. Given the relatively small portion of cells and panels imported to the U.S. from China now due to the antidumping, countervailing, and safeguard duties imposed on Chinese products, it is difficult to assess the effect additional duties would have on the U.S. market. Regardless, SEIA views this as a negative development as it could cause harm to the U.S. market and will continue to fight against imposition of these tariffs.
— Solar Builder magazine