60-day clock starts for Trump to decide on solar panel tariffs

Dive Brief:

  • A final report recommending remedies in a high-profile trade case has been sent to President Trump’s desk, triggering a 60-day deadline for a decision to be made. As PV Magazine points out, the case has dragged on for months, but a decision must be made by Jan. 13, 2018.
  • While the final report has not been made public, the International Trade Commission press office told Utility Dive it will be released by Dec. 4, or possibly a couple of days before that.  
  • In October, the International Trade Commission issued three separate remedies that ranged from tariffs as high as 35% for crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules to quotas, capped imports or an import licensing fee.

Dive Insight:

If it was not already unclear what remedies may result from the SolarWorld and Suniva trade case, the issue is complicated further by President Trump’s unpredictable nature and an unusual stance in conservative media. 

The two solar companies petitioned the ITC in April for import relief under a Section 201 investigation of the 1974 Trade Act. The commission unanimously found cause for severe injury and subsequently issued three remedy recommendations. 

A more detailed report was submitted to the White House yesterday, and President Trump will make the final determination on which of the remedies to utilize — or he could make changes to the recommendations.

Patrick Maloney, the founder and CEO of clean power retailer Inspire, said in a statement that while the final tariff may be far lower than what SolarWorld and Suniva had sought, the decision “may still have a substantial impact on solar’s competitive advantage over fossil fuels.”

The detailed report of ITC’s recommendations remains confidential, but the commission’s press office told Utility Dive that it will be released on or slightly before Dec. 4.

While Trump touts an America first approach to trade, some of his allies in the media and other sectors, including Sean Hannity, have come out against the tariffs. 

This has led to an uncommon situation of putting renewables advocates and conservative pundits on the same side of the issue.

This post has been updated to remove reference to Breitbart News as opposed to the tariffs.


Article source: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/60-day-clock-starts-for-trump-to-decide-on-solar-panel-tariffs/510851/