Representatives from all segments of the solar industry, including American manufacturers, will tell the International Trade Commission (ITC) today that many of their employees will lose jobs under remedies proposed by Suniva and SolarWorld.
The commission is holding its remedy hearing today and witnesses representing the solar industry will illustrate in personal terms how their companies will be affected by this case if the petitioners’ recommendations are imposed. SolarWorld and Suniva filed a proposal with the ITC that, if granted, would result in the loss of between 48,000 and 63,000 American solar jobs next year alone, and between 60,000 and 84,000 jobs by 2020.
“It’s hard for us to see a scenario where these companies could get legally permissible trade relief that would enable them to compete in any market,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Our perspective is that while trade restrictive relief is not appropriate for these two poorly-run companies, we remain committed to supporting domestic manufacturing and are advocating for creative solutions that can resolve this deeply flawed case.”
The petitioners have proposed illegal remedies in both the large size of the tariff they suggest and the small size of the quota. SEIA’s presentation to the ITC today will illustrate the devastating impact these remedies will have on the U.S. solar industry.
Additionally, SEIA will argue that the tariffs proposed by the petitioners violate the law. In a 201 case, any new tariff cannot exceed 50 percent of the value of the product as it enters the United States. (This is called ad valorem: (of the levying of tax or customs duties) in proportion to the estimated value of the goods or transaction concerned). SolarWorld’s tariff proposal for cells is 125 percent ad valorem (25 cent tariff on cells valued at 20 cents) and the tariff for panels is 80 percent ad valorem (32 cent tariff on a 40 cent market price).
SEIA will also show how the petitioners did not use the appropriate methodology to determine their proposed tariff. Rather than using the most recent three years to calculate their proposed tariff and quota, they relied on old data to unveil an industry crushing quota of 5.7 gigawatts (GW) in imports. The latest three-year average is 8.6 GW, which still would paralyze the industry’s growth.
SEIA has proposed a solution that would provide both technical and direct financial assistance to American crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cell and panel manufacturers, while not killing U.S. jobs. The proposal uses Section 1102 of the trade law, in combination with Section 201, to allow the ITC to recommend that the President create a license fee system to import CSPV cells and modules. Instead of going to the U.S. Treasury, revenue from the fees would come from foreign manufacturers and be delivered directly to American manufacturers.
Today’s solar industry is a force in America’s economy. GTM valued the industry at $23 billion in 2016 and solar was the top source of new U.S. electricity generating capacity last year. This incredible progress will be stopped in its tracks with new worldwide tariffs.
Among those testifying for the respondents will be Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower Corp., Pete Alyanakian, director of marketing for DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, Kevin Schulte, CEO of SunCommon, Ed Fenster, co-founder and executive chairman of Sunrun Inc. and Constantino Nicolaou, CEO of PanelClaw, Inc.
Several of the witnesses will be part of a contingent of solar manufacturers who will visit the U.S. Trade Representative, key trade staff at the White House, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy on Wednesday to tell their story to administration officials.
To learn more about SEIA’s recommendations to the ITC, go to http://www2.seia.org/e/