SEIA said Item 201 tariffs fell short of their goal of supporting U.S. solar manufacturing. Image: First Solar.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has urged the Biden administration to phase out Section 201 tariffs on certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from China ahead of a hearing by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC ) this week.

In a pre-hearing briefing, SEIA said the tariffs had “done more harm than good”, failed to improve the competitiveness of US manufacturing and cost the solar industry more than 30,000 jobs. American.

On Wednesday (November 3), the USITC will hear arguments on the effectiveness of tariffs before making a recommendation to President Biden on whether to extend, change or phase out tariffs.

Section 201 was imposed by President Trump in January 2018, with the stated purpose of boosting solar manufacturing in the United States. SEIA said the tariffs “have produced only marginal investments in domestic module assembly facilities that are well below the capacity needed to meet US demand.”

Tariffs were introduced at a rate of 30%, decreasing by five percentage points each year for four years. However, then President Trump issued a proclamation last October that imposed safeguard duties on previously excluded bifacial panels and increased the tariff rate from 15% to 18% for its fourth year (2021).

In 2019, the World Trade Organization (WTO) rejected a challenge from China that the measures violated global trade rules. China has since appealed the ruling.

Tariffs are due to end in February 2022 and SEIA CEO Abigail Hopper said any extension “would be yet another obstacle to the deployment of clean energy and undermine any hope we have of alleviating this crisis. “.

“The United States raised US $ 2.6 billion under Section 201 solar tariffs, but not a cent helped the domestic manufacturing industry,” Hopper added.

SEIA previously called on President Biden to remove tariffs, but is now calling for a phased approach, warning against any extensions.

In its US Solar Market Insight report, released alongside Wood Mackenzie last week, SEIA said the potential for tariff increases and extensions, in addition to supply chain and ordinance constraints US government restraint, “poses downside risks to the short-term growth” of the country’s solar sector.

Instead, he called for increased federal investments to support solar power manufacturing in the United States, such as Senator Jon Ossoff’s Solar Power Manufacturing for America (SEMA) bill. .

“We need a strong domestic manufacturing sector in the United States, and smart policy solutions like Senator Ossoff’s Solar Power Manufacturing Tax Credit will help us make the long-term investments needed to increase domestic production, ”Hopper said.

Last month, five manufacturers operating in the United States – Auxin Solar, Suniva, Q CELLS USA, LG Electronics USA and Mission Solar Energy – filed two separate petitions to extend tariffs.


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