Background

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will hold a hearing Jan. 4 and accept comments through Dec. 15 (requests to testify at the hearing are also due by that date, while comment responses are due by Dec. 22) on the appropriateness of extending the Section 201 safeguard on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and other CSPV products containing these cells, in the event that the International Trade Commission issues an affirmative determination in its own investigation. This safeguard is currently scheduled to expire Feb. 6.

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. It consists of (1) a tariff-rate quota on 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 over-quota articles that declines each year (and is currently 18 percent), and (2) a higher duty rate on CSPV modules.

If the ITC makes an affirmative determination in its extension review, the Trade Policy Staff Committee will make a recommendation to the president regarding the determination to be made under section 203(e)(1)(B) of the Trade Act and the extent to which the effective period of the safeguard should be extended. Comments may be submitted on whether the president should extend the safeguard, the length of any such extension, and any other action that the president should take if he decides to extend the safeguard as well as the statutory or other basis for taking that action.

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

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