U.S. begins safeguard investigation on photovoltaic cells

The United States initiated a safeguard investigation on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (CSPV). Under rules from the World Trade Organization, safeguard investigations seek to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or are threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry.

This investigation was initiated pursuant to a petition filed by a producer of CSPV cells and modules in the United States. The petition alleges that increasing imports have taken market share from domestic producers and have led to bankruptcies, plant shutdowns, layoffs, and a severe deterioration of the financial performance of the domestic industry.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) will make its determination on serious injury by September 22, 2017. During a safeguard investigation, importers, exporters and other interested parties may present evidence and views and respond to the presentations of other parties.

If the Commission finds serious injury it may recommend to the President an increase in a duty, imposition of a quota, imposition of a tariff-rate quota (e.g., a two-level tariff, under which goods enter at a higher duty after the quota is filled), trade adjustment assistance, or any combination of such actions.

The decision concerning the form of relief ultimately granted to U.S. industry is made by the President.

Global safeguard investigations are not country specific. They involve imports of the products under investigation from all sources. However, should the USITC make affirmative injury determinations, it is required to make additional separate findings for certain countries with which the U.S. has free trade agreements. These include the NAFTA countries.

Link: USITC Investigation No. TA-201-75 (pdf) Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells

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