Background

The Section 201 safeguard for solar cells continues to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury to the U.S. industry, the International Trade Commission said recently, even though there is evidence that industry is making a positive adjustment to import competition. President Biden will next make a final determination on whether or not to extend the safeguard past its current Feb. 6, 2022, expiration date.

Issued in February 2018, this safeguard is applicable to imports from all countries, except certain developing countries that are members of the World Trade Organization as long as imports from these countries individually or collectively do not exceed specified volume thresholds. The safeguard consists of (1) a tariff-rate quota on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells not partially or fully assembled into other products, with an unchanged duty rate for the in-quota quantity and a higher duty rate for over-quota articles that declines each year (and is currently 15 percent), and (2) a higher duty rate on CSPV modules.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 4 and is accepting comments through Dec. 15 on whether the president should extend this safeguard, the length of any such extension, and any other action the president should take.

For more information, please contact attorney Kristen Smith at (202) 730-4965 or via email.

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