US trade officials delay decision on new solar tariffs

Solar panels are seen at the Desert Stateline Project near Nipton, California, United States on August 16, 2021. Photo taken on August 16, 2021. REUTERS / Bridget Bennett / File Photo

Sept. 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Commerce on Wednesday asked a group of anonymous domestic solar power manufacturers for additional information before considering a request to impose duties on panels produced in three countries in South Asia. South East.

This decision delays the decision of the ministry which was expected this week. The case is the latest dispute between builders of U.S. solar projects who depend on cheap imports for most of their supplies and the small domestic manufacturing sector that says it cannot effectively compete with the flood of imports to low price from Asia.

U.S. solar project developers have lobbied forcefully against any Commerce investigation into new tariffs, saying the investigation alone would scare off the foreign solar producers they rely on and cripple a sector essential to meeting the country’s goals by climate change.

The anonymous group asking for the tariffs last month asked the Commerce Department to investigate whether imports from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were unfair. He accuses Chinese producers of moving manufacturing to those countries to avoid US taxes on solar cells and panels made in China.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department sent group lawyer Timothy Brightbill a letter setting an Oct. 6 deadline for so-called U.S. solar manufacturers against Chinese bypassing to answer a series of questions.

A question asks group members to identify themselves. The group said in documents filed with Commerce that its members wanted to remain anonymous because they feared retaliation in the market, a claim the department also asked it to explain.

The ministry said it would issue a decision within 45 days of receiving a response.

Brightbill did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US Solar Energy Industries Association, the trade group opposing the tariff request, said it was disappointed that the department did not reject the group’s petition out of hand, but said the additional information would show the petitioners “have no records”.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Leslie Adler, Richard Chang and Aurora Ellis

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