Solar anti-circumvention moratorium

Solar anti-circumvention moratorium

October 25, 2022 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Solar developers planning to import solar panels by mid-2024 to avoid any US anti-circumvention duties the US decides to impose on panels from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand or Cambodia must actually use the panels in projects by December 3, 2024, the Commerce Department said.

The Commerce Department released details of a two-year moratorium on anti-circumvention duties on September 15.

Formal imposition of the moratorium is a legal milestone that could lead to a suit by Auxin Solar and other US panel manufacturers to block enforcement.

The Biden administration is using authority under the Tariff Act of 1930 to suspend duties on “food, clothing, and medical, surgical and other supplies for use in emergency relief work.”

Commerce responded, while releasing moratorium details, to complaints that the 1930 authority is not broad enough to suspend duties on solar equipment. It said that President Truman invoked the same authority in 1946 to suspend duties on timber, lumber and other construction materials to deal with a housing shortage as millions of soldiers returned home after World War II.

The moratorium will apply to collection of anti-circumvention duties on cells and modules imported through June 5, 2024.

The imported equipment must be used in projects by December 3, 2024. Commerce said the emergency does not justify waiving duties for solar companies to stockpile equipment they do not need immediately.

The moratorium applies to solar cells and panels made in the four Southeast Asian countries using Chinese parts.

It is retroactive to cells and modules imported earlier this year. Auxin petitioned the Commerce Department on February 8, 2022 to investigate whether Chinese panels were being routed through Southeast Asia to avoid high duties on direct imports from China. (For more details on the Commerce investigation and potential duties, see “Solar Tariff Moratorium and Customs Detentions” in the August 2022 NewsWire.)

The moratorium does not apply to Southeast Asian panels that use solar cells manufactured in China or Taiwan.

A preliminary decision is now not expected in the anti-circumvention investigation until November 28 after Auxin asked Commerce to delay an earlier August 29, 2022 deadline to allow presentation of more evidence.