On October 10 (Saturday, 10th Eastern Time), Trump signed a statement emphasizing his support for the abolition of tariff reductions on some imported double-sided solar panels and the tariffs on imported solar panels in 2021. Increase from 15% of the original plan to 18%.
Trump imposed tariffs on imported solar products in January 2018. Since the tariffs were imposed, the production and market share of domestic solar modules in the United States have begun to increase, but further measures are needed. President Trump believes that double-sided modules should not be excluded from tariffs-doing so will limit the overall effectiveness of the measures and may continue to weaken the effectiveness of existing measures.
(Editor’s supplement: In January 2018, the United States imposed a 30% tariff on imported solar panels, which was originally scheduled to be reduced to 15% by 2021.)
The White House stated in a statement: “In view of the increase in imports of competitive products…it is necessary to withdraw this exemption and impose protective tariffs on double-sided solar panels.” At the same time, “to achieve the full scope of the action envisaged To support the effect, it is necessary to adjust the protective tariff rate for the fourth year of implementation of the safeguard measures to 18%.”
Domestic manufacturers support, but developers don’t think it’s necessary
American consumers and importers believe that higher tariffs will increase their costs, and it is unnecessary, because domestic manufacturers have limited production of solar panels and cannot be said to be harmed by imported products.
But domestic producers in the United States argue that solar power developers can use single-sided or double-sided solar panels, and higher tariffs will protect domestic production.
Solar power plant developers, including Invenergy Renewables LLC (Invenergy Renewables LLC), have filed a lawsuit to maintain the initial exemption granted by the Trump administration, but government officials believe that this has led to a surge in imports. The exemption was revoked.
Export to the U.S. has a bumpy fate for double-sided modules
After the formal implementation of Act 201 in 2018, my country’s component exports to the United States dropped by 95%. Later, due to the shortage of photovoltaic modules and the superior economy of bifacial modules, bifacial modules were exempted in June 2019, but they were cancelled in October of the same year. In December 2019, the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) restored tariff exemption for double-sided modules, and my country’s module exports to the United States have surged accordingly. According to China Customs statistics, in the first quarter of 2020, my country’s exports of components to the United States were US$194 million, an increase of 9278% year-on-year. The United States has ranked as the fifth largest market for my country’s component exports, accounting for 5.5% of total exports.
Review the whole process of exemption and cancellation of bifacial module:
In 2018, the United States announced a tax on all imported solar cells;
In June 2019, bifacial modules were exempted;
In October 2019, the tariff exemption for bifacial modules was cancelled for the first time;
In December 2019, the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) stepped in and restored the exemption for double-sided modules;
In February 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) accepted the public comments on the exemption of bifacial modules;
In April 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative once again cancelled the tariff reduction on double-sided modules, which will be implemented from May 18;
In May 2020, the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) ruled that imported double-sided modules will be exempted from tariff 201, and the decision to exempt tariffs is expected to continue until the end of 2020.
In October 2020, the White House issued a statement stating that in order to guarantee the effect of tariffs, Trump intends to cancel the exemption for bifacial modules and intends to increase tariffs to 18% in 2021.
Chinese photovoltaic cell manufacturers currently dominate the global market. Although the bifacial photovoltaic cell market has a small share in the solar panel market, it is growing. The price of double-sided solar panels is higher, but the power generation is also higher than traditional solar panels.
According to China Customs data, the cumulative export volume of solar cells from January to July was 1.56 billion, an increase of 25.72% over the same period last year.