United States Levies 120% Import Duty on Silicon Imports from Kazakhstan

The U.S. Department of Commerce said it would impose preliminary duties of 120% on all silicon metal imports from Kazakhstan.

American silicon manufacturers like the U.S. based subsidiary of Ferroglobe PLC  – Globe Specialty Metals (GSM) and Mississippi Silicon (MS) LLC have welcomed the decision.

Background

On June 30, 2020, the manufacturers, GSM and MS had filed a petition to stop silicon metal producers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan from selling dumped and unfairly subsidized silicon metal imports into the United States.


In their petitions, the companies asked the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to impose duties to offset unfair pricing and subsidies. Both GSM and M.S. together represent the majority of American silicon metal production.

Leading countries for importing silicon include Brazil, Canada, Norway, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan.

The announcement is part of an ongoing investigation of unfairly-traded silicon metal imports from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan. In August, the ITC preliminarily determined that imports from these four countries cause material injury to the U.S. industry.

Silicon is an essential element added to various grades of aluminum alloys used in performance applications such as automotive components and aerospace products. Besides this, silicon metal is the base material in polysilicon production, a purified form of silicon used in solar cells and semiconductors.

“Unfair trade practices by foreign suppliers have been an ongoing challenge for our industry. These duties will facilitate the normalization of the U.S. market as the government responds to unfairly-traded imports. We appreciate the diligent efforts by the Commerce Department in this investigation,” said Marco Levi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GSM’s parent, Ferroglobe.

Following the announcement, a preliminary determination will be announced in the Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland investigations on December 8, 2020, and in the Malaysia investigation on January 27, 2021.

“Today’s decision appropriately recognizes the challenges our industry has faced in recent years as a result of dumped and subsidized imports. We appreciate the government’s efforts to respond to unfair trade practices and look forward to seeing conditions in the U.S. market improve shortly,” said Eddie Boardwine, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of M.S.

Recently, the United States repealed the exemption of imported bifacial solar panels from the imposition of safeguard duty. The United States Court of International Trade addressed the issues regarding the withdrawal of the exclusion of imported bifacial solar modules from safeguard duty, which Trump had imposed to protect the domestic solar industry. This came on the heels of Trump’s decision to withdraw the exclusion of bifacial solar panels from safeguard duties and increase duties on certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from 15% to 18%.

In 2018, the former President Trump had issued an order announcing a safeguard measure against imports of solar products. These duties were to remain in effect for a four-year period that began on February 7, 2018.

Image credit: United States Department of Commerce