May 24, 2022
A New Anti-Circumvention Investigation into Solar Imports
In March, the Department of Commerce began an investigation to determine if imports of solar cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam (CMTV) are circumventing existing antidumping and countervailing tariffs on imports of these products from China. In a new insight, Data and Policy Analyst Tom Lee examines the harm these tariffs would cause the U.S. economy and the adverse impacts from just the proposal.
- Based on statutory rules, if anti-circumventing tariffs are imposed, they would retroactively apply to imports of solar cells and modules from the CMTV countries from April 1, 2022, to as far back as November 2021, meaning U.S. importers of such products do not currently know their exact costs.
- The installation and utilization of solar panels in the United States has been sharply curtailed due to the uncertainty the U.S. solar industry faces from the anti-circumvention tariffs.
- The United States’ comparative advantage is in the downstream portion of the solar supply chain and hence most of the U.S. solar industry specializes in value-adding activities such as using imports of cells and modules to assemble full panels and installing those panels in residential and commercial projects.
- If the tariffs are imposed, they would presumably help the few U.S. manufacturers of solar cells and modules but punish the United States’ value-adding solar firms further along the supply chain.