The European Union (EU) and China have this week lodged separate filings with the World Trade Organization (WTO) that seek consultation with the United States over the imposition in January of tariffs on imported crystalline silicon solar cells and modules.
The EU’s request for compensation follows similar measures lodged over the past two weeks by Taiwan and South Korea, all of which take issue with U.S. President Trump’s safeguard tariffs, which apply a graduated 30% tax on imported solar cells and modules over the next five years, reducing sequentially on an annual basis and ending at 15% in 2022.
While the Trump Administration’s restrained approach surprised some industry players – particularly the exemption from tariffs of 2.5 GW solar cell capacity each year – the levy still raised the hackles of leading solar-producing regions globally.
The EU is no longer a major player on the PV production stage, but Germany in particular remains a major exporter of solar panels and cells. While the EU, much like China, Taiwan and South Korea, does not accuse the U.S. of breaking WTO rules, it is seeking a consultation with the hope of securing compensation for potential damages the tariffs may cause, such as loss of revenue.
The WTO filing reveals the EU’s eagerness to hold consultations “as soon as possible” with “the participation of representatives of the U.S.’s investigating authorities”.
China’s claim for compensation is virtually identical, setting a consultation date for February 9 or 12. China, unlike the EU, is the dominant source of PV component production globally, and stands to lose more from the tariffs than other regions. Some of China’s largest solar firms have begun assessing alternative supply strategies, with JinkoSolar – the largest Chinese solar company in terms of shipments – recenlty confirming that it will invest $140 million to build a production facility in Florida.
Last year, the United States made a similar request via the WTO to complain about India’s alleged protectionist practices; a case that the WTO found in India’s favor but which did, however, spark a series of tit-for-tat filings between the two nations that are still ongoing.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: email@example.com.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.