The news could not have been any worse.
In a deeply troubling decision, the U.S. Department of Commerce today imposed new tariffs on solar modules from China that threaten to derail the rapid growth of the U.S. solar industry.
Commerce will immediately impose countervailing duty tariffs ranging from 18.56 to 35.21 percent. Equally troubling, Commerce issued a broad preliminary scope decision, although the Department indicated that it will continue to review comments on this issue.
These damaging tariffs will increase costs for U.S. solar consumers and, in turn, slow the adoption of solar within the United States. Ironically, the tariffs may provide little to no direct benefit to the sole petitioner SolarWorld, as we saw in the 2012 investigations. It’s time to end this needless litigation with a negotiated solution that addresses SolarWorld’s trade allegations while ensuring the continued growth of the U.S. solar market.
Over the past few months, SEIA has facilitated settlement discussions between Chinese solar manufacturers and SolarWorld. The goal of these discussions is to develop an industry recommendation to help jump-start government-to-government negotiations. Although we’ve succeeded in establishing direct communications between the parties—and are working with all segments of the industry to find a consensus solution—we’re quickly running out of time.
As an industry, we need to get serious about resolving this ongoing dispute, before irreparable damage is done. We’re strongly urging all parties to set aside their grievances; redouble efforts to find a solution that benefits all segments of the industry; and end this potentially costly and divisive conflict.
As I have said all along, we need to negotiate a settlement to this costly, ongoing trade dispute – not litigate one.