US solar manufacturers file for tariffs against Southeast Asia imports – Renewables Now

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A group of US solar manufacturers including First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR) on Wednesday filed petitions seeking anti-dumping and countervailing duties against Chinese-owned solar manufacturers in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The antidumping and countervailing duty petitions were lodged with the US International Trade Commission (USITC) and the US Department of Commerce by the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee. Besides thin-film photovoltaics (PV) maker First Solar, the alliance includes Convalt Energy, which purchased SunPower manufacturing assets in 2021, Meyer Burger Technology AG (SWX:MBTN), a Swiss company expanding into the US, Mission Solar, Seoul-based Hanwha Solutions Corp’s (KRX:009830) unit Qcells, Norway-based REC Silicon ASA (OSL:RECSI) and Swift Solar.

The move comes less than a year after the Department of Commerce found that Chinese solar manufacturers were avoiding tariffs by selling their products through Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The US, however, imposed a two-year moratorium on these tariffs, giving the Chinese companies time to shift their supply chains and meaning they are not expected to pay tariffs when the moratorium ends in June 2024 .

“This new trade case is required to address the unfair trade practices by these solar manufacturers in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam,” the petitioners said.

Next, the Commerce Department will decide whether to start the investigations within 20 days. The USITC will reach a preliminary determination within 45 days, with final determinations potentially expected in the spring of 2025.

The US solar manufacturers are facing a glut of solar panels. In 2023, imports into the US were more than 25 GW higher than installations, the petitioners pointed out, and prices have tumbled.

“Everyone knows these Chinese-headquartered companies in Southeast Asia are benefiting from subsidies and exporting below-cost solar into the US market, harming American solar manufacturers and their workers. Conditions are untenable for American solar manufacturers,” said Mike Carr, executive director of the Solar Energy Manufacturers for America (SEMA) Coalition. Most of the petitioners are its members.

A number of other clean energy groups issued a joint statement, saying that the filing creates market uncertainty and that constructive actions, like the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit and other policies, are needed to expand domestic solar manufacturing.

“America’s clean energy industry is urging the Biden administration to consider alternative solutions to address the petitioners’ concerns so that we can uplift American manufacturers and maintain a thriving clean energy economy across the value chain,” says the statement, released by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), American Clean Power Association (ACP) and Advanced Energy United (United).

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