• ITVI.USA
    16,350.840
    -55.350
    -0.3%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.731
    0.025
    0.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.660
    -0.160
    -0.7%
  • OTVI.USA
    16,343.200
    -45.660
    -0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    16,350.840
    -55.350
    -0.3%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.731
    0.025
    0.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.660
    -0.160
    -0.7%
  • OTVI.USA
    16,343.200
    -45.660
    -0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

U.S. solar industry faces cloudy trade forecast

Following a positive determination of harm its section 201 investigation into solar panel imports, the International Trade Commission (ITC) will now move to the “remedy” phase, but trade groups worry about potential damage to the industry at large.

   The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday unanimously determined that imports of electricity-generating solar panels are entering the United States at such increased volumes that they are unfairly harming domestic manufacturers of these products.
   The ITC’s determination was made in response to an investigation initiated by the commission on May 17, 2017, under section 202 of the 1974 Trade Act. The petitioner for the investigation was Suniva, which was subsequently supported by SolarWorld Americas.
   The commission will now proceed to the “remedy” phase of its investigation. The ITC will hold a public hearing on Oct. 3 and plans to submit its report containing its injury determination, remedy recommendations, other findings to President Trump by Nov. 13.
   “The president, not the commission, will make the final decision concerning whether to provide relief to the U.S. industry and the kind of relief to provide, including with respect to imports from FTA (free trade agreement) countries,” the ITC said in a statement.
   While the biggest exporter of solar panels to the United States is China, other large providers include Mexico and South Korea, according to the ITC’s findings.
   Suniva and SolarWorld applauded the outcome of the ITC’s section 201 investigation, so far.
   “In the remedy phase of the process, we will strive to help fashion a remedy that will put the U.S. industry as a whole back on a growth path,” said Juergen Stein, CEO and president of Hillsboro, Ore.-based SolarWorld Americas, in a press release.
   “President Trump can remedy this injury with relief that ensures U.S. energy dominance that includes a healthy U.S. solar ecosystem and prevents China and its proxies from owning the sun,” said Norcross, Ga.-based Suniva in a statement published in Solar Industry.
   Stein asked the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to support the ITC determination and “work on good solutions for the entire industry. It is time for the industry to come together to strengthen American solar manufacturing for the long term.”
   SEIA strongly opposed the Suniva petition, and the association’s president and CEO, Abigail Ross Hopper, called the ITC’s decision “disappointing for nearly 9,000 U.S. solar companies and the 260,000 Americans they employ.”
   She also criticized the fact that SolarAmerica and Suniva, both owned by foreign parent companies, “brought business failures on themselves” and “are attempting to exploit American trade laws to gain a bailout for their bad investments.”
   Hopper, however, said the SEIA will “respect the commission’s vote and we will continue to lead the effort to protect the solar industry from damaging trade relief.
   “We expect to be front and center in the ITC remedy process, and in the administration’s consideration of this deeply-flawed case,” she added.
   The Energy Trade Action Coalition (ETAC) was also troubled by the ITC’s vote to continue the section 201 trade case on imported solar panels and components. 
   “ETAC will continue to fight vigorously during the remedy phase, encouraging [Trump] administration officials and members of Congress to help ensure that no remedies are imposed that would threaten the solar industry’s ability to compete with other energy sources,” said Paul Nathanson, the coalition’s spokesman.
   “Utilities, power co-ops, retailers, manufacturers and other large commercial users, along with conservative groups who have criticized federal solar subsidies, all agree that unwarranted tariffs would cause severe damage to the solar industry while setting a terrible precedent for future trade cases,” he said. “Artificially raising the price of solar products would increase costs for solar power consumers and jeopardize tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs.”

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.

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