U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate solar loopholes
A San Jose solar panel manufacturer submitted a petition to the U.S. Department of Commerce investigating a possible Chinese circumvention of tariffs regarding the product.
The filing, which was submitted in February by Auxin Solar, alleges that certain Chinese-made solar panels were assembled in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia before being shipped to the U.S.
Auxin Solar in San Jose, California.—Auxin Solar photo
It is staunchly opposed by a major organization, the SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association), who criticized Auxin for prioritizing "the interests of one company" and said the petition "lacks legal merit".
The U.S. Commerce Department plans to take up the investigation, Auxin Solar Inc. said in a statement March 28.
“For years, Chinese solar producers have refused to fairly price their products in the U.S. and have gone to significant lengths to continue undercutting American manufacturers and workers by establishing circumventing operations in countries not covered by those duties,” said Auxin Solar CEO Mamun Rashid. He said he was grateful that Commerce officials “recognized the need to investigate this pervasive backdoor dumping and how it continues to injure American solar producers.”
Conversely, in a statement, Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) criticized Auxin for pursuing what she called the “self interests of one company.” Commerce Department rules allow petitions from single entities and even from non-American interests. She said “The mere threat of tariffs altered the industry’s growth trajectory and is one of the reasons why we’re now expecting a 19% decline in near-term solar forecasts.” She said that “Taking up this case will have a chilling effect on the solar industry” and predicted it could lead to market volatility and job losses.