USITC Recommendations

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced antidumping tariff recommendations in the 30-35 percent range, much lower than what Suniva and SolarWorld were looking for.

The full set of recommendations is expected to be submitted to President Trump who has until January 2018 to agree or disagree with the recommendations made by the ITC.

The petitioners and the developer community were engaged in a bitter PR fight to make their respective cases. In the end, it looks like the trade commissioners gave something to both sides without jeopardizing the long-term growth of the U.S. solar sector.

A 30-35 percent tariff would mean approximately $0.10/W rise in module costs, which would take module prices to about the same level they were this time last year. Except for the petitioners and local manufacturers, most of the industry seems pleased with the outcome.



The four commissioners differed in their recommendations –

  • Commissioners Williamson and Johanson recommended 30 percent tariff for modules phased down by 5 percentage points per year in each of the subsequent 4 years. For cells, they recommended 1 GW tariff-free quota, which would increase by 0.2 GW each year and a 30 percent tariff over the 1 GW quota declining by 5 percent over subsequent 4 years.

 

  • Commissioner Broadbent recommended a quantitative restriction of 8.9 GW on imports of cells and modules for a four-year period increasing by 1.4 gigawatts each subsequent year. The commissioner also recommended auctioning import licenses for 1 cent per watt to generate at least $89 million in revenue in the first year and increase by at least $14 million each year after.

 

  • Commissioner Schmidtlein recommended a 0.5 GW tariff-rate quota and a 10 percent tariff, which would increase to 30 percent after breaching the 0.5 GW quota for solar cell imports. For modules she recommended a 35 percent duty declining over four subsequent years.

 

The release of the recommendations ends months of uncertainty that surrounded the sector affecting solar markets around the world. The case had resulted in an increase in module prices globally and a shortage of modules as U.S. developers had been stockpiling Chinese modules at premium rates fearing the worst outcome.

India initiated its own anti-dumping case against cell and module imports from China, Taiwan, and Malaysia in July this year.

The U.S. ITC recommendations give India’s office of the Directorate General of Anti-dumping & Allied Duties (DGAD) a precedent to follow.

According to Mercom India sources, a tariff imposition in the range of $0.10 – $0.18 is being tossed around and with the U.S. ITC recommendations out, we expect DGAD to follow with its own antidumping tariff recommendations in November.