US suspends circumvention duties on solar panel imports with anti-stockpiling conditions

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The United States suspended the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imported solar cells and modules, which have been the subject of circumvention proceedings for two years.

The U.S. government announced the “Final Rule” implementing the Presidential Proclamation under which President Joe Biden temporarily waived any anti-dumping or countervailing duties on the entry of solar cells and modules assembled in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam using parts and components made in China.

On July 1, 2022, the Department of Commerce released the proposed rule to implement Proclamation 10414 and invited public comment. A total of 16 comments were submitted, of which eleven were generally in favor of the rule and five generally opposed.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is conducting circumvention investigations to determine whether imports of solar cells, whether or not assembled into modules, that are made in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, or Vietnam using parts and components made in China and exported to the United States are circumventing tariff orders on solar cells and modules from China.

The announcement of the “final rule” follows a circumvention investigation filed by Auxin Solar in March this year.

The rule only applies to SA terminated cells (terminated cells and modules in Southeast Asia) and modules used in the United States before the expiration date, which is 180 days after the termination date. It defines “use” and “used” to mean that cells and modules completed by SA will be used or installed in the United States.

Specifically, cells and modules completed by SA are crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules, which are completed in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam using certain parts and components from China and then exported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, or Vietnam to the United States.

The “Final Rule” provides that in the event of an affirmative determination of circumvention, no anti-dumping or countervailing duty will be applied to AS-completed cells and modules that entered the United States or were removed from warehouses for consumption prior to termination date and for use before the expiration date.

This rule does not apply to solar cells and modules manufactured in and exported from China and is subject to existing anti-dumping or countervailing duty orders on solar cells and modules from China. It also does not apply to certain solar products that are produced in and exported from Taiwan and are subject to the existing anti-dumping duty order on solar products from Taiwan.

Under the rule, cash deposits will not be collected when importing airframes and modules completed by SA prior to the termination date and must be used in the United States by the expiration date of use .

The Department of Commerce said the proclamation states that immediate action is needed to ensure access to a sufficient supply of solar modules to meet the electricity generation needs of the United States. The specified goods duty exemption will provide relief from this emergency by encouraging imports and increasing solar power capacity.

He added that an electricity supply emergency exists in the United States, which must rely in part on imported solar modules for the immediate future.

To address the storage issue, the Commerce Department said it added a requirement that all goods that benefit from this rule must be used in the United States before the use expiration date, which is 180 days after the date of termination.

In August of this year, President Joe Biden signed the “Cutting Inflation Act of 2022,” which the United States House of Representatives and Senate had passed. The act proposes $369.75 billion in energy security and climate change programs over the next ten years. The law would provide billions of dollars in taxes and other incentives to US solar manufacturers.

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