Canada has railed against the ongoing U.S. tariffs on Canadian solar products, calling for talks to address the matter under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).
In a statement, Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng said that although the United States is a valued cross-border ally, the tariffs are “unwarranted” and have caused Canada’s solar exports to its neighbor to drop by more than 80%. She added the tariffs “clearly violate the provisions and the spirit” of CUSMA, the recently enacted successor of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Following a Section 201 global safeguard investigation, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on imported crystalline silicon PV cells and modules in 2018. However, the U.S. International Trade Commission had ruled that Canadian imports were not a substantial contributor or major threat to U.S. solar manufacturing. According to Ng, that meant the United States was required under the countries’ trade agreements to exclude Canada from the penalty. The tariffs were imposed anyway, and despite company lawsuits and other government attempts, the tariffs against Canada remain in place.
“Canada will always stand up for its workers and against unjustified trade actions,” said Ng. “If Canada and the United States are not able to resolve this action through consultations, Canada may request the establishment of a dispute settlement panel to adjudicate the matter.”
Since they were imposed, the U.S. tariffs have faced opposition from solar stakeholders, both domestic and abroad. The Solar Energy Industries Association and other advocacy groups have called on the incoming Biden administration to revoke the tariffs. Although President-elect Joe Biden has signaled his support for renewable energy, the solar tariffs’ fate remains uncertain.
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