Anti-Circumvention Duty Moratorium

Anti-Circumvention Duty Moratorium

September 15, 2022 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

The Commerce Department this afternoon formally implemented the two-year moratorium on anti-circumvention duties on imported solar cells and modules made in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.  

The Commerce Department announcement can be found here.  The moratorium will take effect 60 days after today’s announcement is published in the Federal Register.  

Today’s action is a legal milestone that could lead to a suit by Auxin 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 today to complaints that this 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 to investigate whether Chinese panels were being routed through Southeast Asia to avoid high duties on direct imports from China.

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 the August 29, 2022 deadline to allow presentation of more evidence.