The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determined on Friday, September 22, 2017, that Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic (CSPV) cells (regardless whether they are assembled fully or partially into other products) imported into the United States are causing “serious injury” to the portion of the U.S. solar industry that produces similar articles. The ITC will send a report to the President recommending specific remedial action. However, the President has authority to impose the recommended remedy, no remedy, or a remedy different from that which is recommended in the ITC’s report.
Suniva, Inc., which petitioned for this “global safeguards” investigation under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, has, among other things, requested initial increased import duties (also sometimes called “tariffs”) of $0.40/watt per CSPV cell, and a minimum price floor of $0.78/watt per solar module. Global safeguard remedies are temporary, but still can be in place for four years, with the potential for extension to a total of eight years. Possible remedies include duties, quotas, trade adjustment assistance, negotiating international agreements, and submitting to Congress legislation to aid the domestic industry.
The ITC must issue its report to the President by November 13, 2017. President Trump then has 60 days to take action. Duties or quotas generally are to be implemented within 15 days thereafter. The expected time-line of developments in this case is therefore as follows:
- ITC public hearing on remedies (October 3, 2017);
- ITC vote on remedies (October 31, 2017);
- ITC report to the President with remedy recommendations (Nov. 13, 2017);
- Presidential action (Jan. 12, 2018);
- Remedies (e.g., duties/price floors) implemented (Jan. 27, 2018).
This matter will be the subject of intense lobbying—given both the President’s discretion and that of Congress. Companies that rely on imports of CSPV cells and products incorporating…