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World Trade Organization rules that U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar panels are fair


A World Trade Organization dispute panel has found that the United States followed all WTO rules when establishing safeguard measures against imported solar cells and modules in 2018, and the Trump Administration had ample reason to impose the tariffs.

China called on the WTO to review the tariffs, claiming they were inconsistent with various global rules. China challenged the U.S. International Trade Commission’s findings that there was a link between increased Chinese imports/dumping and serious injury to the domestic solar panel manufacturing industry.

A WTO dispute panel rejected China’s challenge, instead ruling that China did not establish that the United States acted against WTO rules on safeguard measures.

The original 2018 tariffs are on a four-year drop-down schedule. A higher rate was adjusted for the fourth year, and all types of imported crystalline silicon solar panels (except for a few minor exemptions) currently see an 18% tax that is scheduled to end February 2022.

Five companies (Auxin Solar, LG, Mission Solar, Q CELLS, Suniva) have asked the U.S. ITC to extend the tariffs on crystalline silicon solar imports for another four years. The ITC will report its determination to President Joe Biden by December 8, 2021, and at that time the President may choose to extend the safeguard remedy for an additional four years.

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