Background

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is accepting through March 16 requests to exclude particular products from the safeguard measure the president imposed Jan. 23 on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products such as modules (other CSPV products). Comments in response to any exclusion requests are due by April 16.

The safeguard consists of (1) a tariff-rate quota on imports of CSPV 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 articles entered in excess of that quantity; and (2) a higher duty rate on imports of other CSPV products. The safeguard already excludes particular products, including the following when meeting certain specifications: 10 to 60 watt rectangular solar panels, one-watt solar panels incorporated into nightlights that use rechargeable batteries, two-watt solar panels incorporated into daylight dimmers that may use rechargeable batteries, off-grid and portable CSPV panels, 3.19 watt or less solar panels, and 27.1 watt or less solar panels.

USTR has now issued a notice that establishes procedures for requesting the exclusion of additional products from this safeguard, lists the criteria for describing such products, and identifies the factors USTR may take into consideration when determining whether to exclude a particular product. USTR will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis and will grant only those exclusions that do not undermine the objectives of the safeguard.

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