USITC Greenlights Investigation into Solar Imports from Southeast Asia

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has decided to proceed with investigations into crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules originating from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Commission concluded that there is a reasonable indication that these imports, allegedly sold in the U.S. at unfairly low prices and subsidized by their respective governments, are causing material injury to the U.S. industry.

It also found a reasonable indication that the U.S. industry is threatened with material injury because of subsidized imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from Cambodia.

Following these affirmative findings, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue its investigations into the imports from these Southeast Asian countries. Preliminary determinations on countervailing duties are expected around July 18, 2024, with preliminary anti-dumping duty determinations due by October 1, 2024.

In May, the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions against solar imports from select Southeast Asian countries.

The petitioners—Convalt Energy, First Solar, Meyer Burger, Mission Solar, Qcells, REC Silicon, and Swift Solar—asserted that these Southeast Asian countries, under the influence of Chinese industrial policy, are engaging in practices that undermine U.S. manufacturers by flooding the market with low-cost solar modules.

This resulted in a “historic glut” of solar modules in the U.S., with imports in 2023 outstripping installations by over 25 G.W. and prices plummeting by more than 50%.

Last year, a U.S. Department of Commerce identified that Chinese solar manufacturers bypassed U.S. tariffs by routing their operations through subject Southeast Asian countries.

The U.S. also announced it would bring back bifacial solar modules under Section 201 tariffs as the country clamps down on cheap clean energy technology entering its shores from China. The exclusion for bifacial modules, widely used in utility-scale solar projects, was in force under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. The exclusion, implemented by the previous administration, had led to a surge in imports.


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