U.S. ITC votes in favor of Suniva and SolarWorld

Written By: Stratton Report
September 25, 2017

ITC solar

Recently,  SolarWorld Americas Inc., commended a 4-0, bipartisan vote of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that determined a surge of imports has seriously injured the domestic solar cell and panel manufacturing industry.

The determination means that the underlying Section 201 case will move into a remedy phase. SolarWorld and Suniva Inc. are co-petitioners in the case.

Juergen Stein, CEO and president of SolarWorld Americas commented,

On behalf of the entire solar cell and panel manufacturing industry, we welcome this important step toward securing relief from a surge of imports that has idled and shuttered dozens of factories, leaving thousands of workers without jobs. 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. We will continue to invite the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and our industry partners to 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.

Per the company, nearly 30 U.S. solar-panel producers ceased manufacturing operations from 2012 to 2016, the period of investigation in the case, according to ITC figures. During this period, global imports increased nearly five-fold. This surge was led by China, whose imports rose by more than 700 percent, according to International Trade Commission data.

The ITC claims they would now conduct the remedy phase, including a hearing on Oct. 3 and a recommendation to the President on Nov. 13. President Trump then would have about two months to adopt that recommendation or another remedy as would be expected to formalise any tariffs, quotas, price floors or other actions in January 2018.

Per the petition, Suniva proposed an initial import tariff of $0.40/W per CSPV cell and a minimum import price of $0.78/W per CSPV module (which is inclusive of the $0.40/W cell tariff). A number of analysts had said that they would essentially double the current price of solar modules and make those imported into the U.S. the most expensive in the world.

Although SolarWorld did not propose its own remedy after joining the petition, sources note that Tim Brightbill, the company’s trade counsel and partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C., recently verified that they supported Suniva’s remedy proposal.

Coording to SEIA’s Hopper, they remain firm and continue to believe that this was the wrong decision, based on Suniva and SolarWorld’s mismanagement. SEIA respects the commission’s vote and would continue to lead the effort to protect the solar industry from damaging trade relief while also expecting to be front and center in the ITC remedy process and in the administration’s consideration of this deeply flawed case.