USITC Announces Remedy Recommendations In Solar Cell Investigation

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on October 31 announced the remedy recommendations that it will forward to the President in its global safeguard investigation regarding imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products).

While the Commissioners differ on the details, all Commissioners are recommending a combination of import restrictions with either tariffs or an import licensing fee.

The most aggressive tariff recommendation appears to have come from International Trade Commission Chairwoman Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, who called for ad valorem duties of 10% on the first 500 MW of imported solar cells, and a 30% rate for any above that quota.  Schmitdlein called for the quota to be implemented for four years, raised by 100 MW per year, and for duties on the first 500-800 MW to fall 0.5% per year. She additionally recommended a 35% ad valorem tariff on modules.

The October 31 action follows the Commission’s September 22, 2017, determination that crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products) are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry producing an article like or directly competitive with the imported article. Information about that determination can be found here: https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2017/er0922ll832.htm.

The Commission will forward its report, which will contain its injury determination, remedy recommendations, certain additional findings, and the basis for them, to the President by November 13, 2017.

The President, not the Commission, will make the final decision whether to provide relief to the U.S. industry and the type and amount of relief