Anti-dumping information dump: Commerce memo stokes fears, Auxin’s petition based mostly on misinterpreted knowledge

By Chris Crowell May 19, 2022 View Profile

The solar trade and a minimum of 85 members of Congress are making use of intense stress on the Department of Commerce and the Biden Administration to difficulty a willpower within the anti-dumping commerce case forward of the August 29 deadline. Word is the Biden Administration can be not happy with this example both. Unfortunately, the Administration technically has no position on this – it isn’t coverage; it’s a authorized query.

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We have been diligently engaged on an excessively lengthy Buzz article for our subsequent print difficulty (subscribe right here) that tries to place this entire mess in context. But updates are flying round too quick and livid to attend. Here’s a portion of that article together with an eyebrow-raising discover by one other information outlet this week.

Is Congress calming fears? Or making ready everybody for a discovering of circumvention?

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a May listening to earlier than Congress mentioned that “It is true Commerce would be permitted to impose a tariff at that excessive level. That is exceedingly unlikely, which is to say that level of a tariff is only reserved in outside cases when you can’t tell the difference between the company and, say, the Communist Party of China. The last 150 times we’ve done this since 2012, we’ve come out in the 10, 11, 12 percent range.”

Why she talked about these 150 circumstances is difficult to fathom as a result of the charges set within the 2012 solar AD/CVD case in opposition to Chinese merchandise are the one ones that matter, and the China-wide anti-dumping charge is ready at practically 240 %.

The aim of this assertion, I assume, is to assuage everybody’s fears that her Department would levy these crazy-high obligation charges within the occasion of a discovering of circumvention.

Commerce additionally issued a memo on May 2 to make clear factors of curiosity that additionally appeared meant to calm these fears. However, it has solely muddied issues additional.

For starters, the memo explicitly talked about the complexity of this case. This may very well be interpreted just a few methods, however a technique acknowledged to me by a authorized professional is Commerce may very well be placing folks on discover that, based mostly on the information of this case, they could be compelled to develop approaches that haven’t been utilized in previous circumvention inquiries.

Regarding potential duties set on imports from the amenities in Southeast Asia within the occasion of an affirmative ruling, that May 2 memo notes that if Chinese-origin wafers had been provided by a Chinese producer with a company-specific charge, then “the cash deposit rate for the relevant imports from the third country will be equal to that Chinese manufacturer’s and/or exporter’s company-specific rates.”

“While in theory that sounds like a good proposal that would allow companies to have more certainty if Commerce goes affirmative,” states Lynn Kamarck, McDermott International Trade Counsel, previously Senior Counsel for antidumping obligation (AD) and countervailing obligation (CVD) proceedings earlier than Commerce, throughout a current webinar roundtable dialogue. “As a practical matter it doesn’t seem to accomplish what Commerce presumably hoped it would because these input providers for the most part just do not have separate rates.”

Requiring company-specific certifications of origin signifies that Commerce goes to analyze the provision chain in larger element than it has in prior circumvention investigations. This might enhance the issue of satisfying Commerce that circumvention will not be going down. Any firm that doesn’t cooperate sufficiently within the investigations might be excluded from the chance to certify their closing product as not being a product of China.

As for the present charges of listed firms (as of May 19), they differ broadly:

  • BYD, JA Solar, others: 95.5%
  • Trina: 92.52%
  • ET Solar, others: 4.06%
  • Canadian, Chint, Jinko, LONGi, Risen, Yingli, others: 0%
  • China-wide/non-listed: 238.95%

Note that these are simply the money deposits presently. Final charges won’t be printed till 2023-’24, and a number of other firms are going by an administrative assessment proper now. Companies that undergo admin assessment have persistently obtained a lot decrease anti-dumping charges than the 238.95% utilized to non-listed firms.

For wafers that come from China from non-listed firms although, it’s unclear how these can be dealt with, however one might assume these would obtain the excessive 238.95% China-wide/non-listed charge. Note that one-third of the China provide of wafers going into the named international locations within the petition is from an organization that doesn’t have their very own separate charge.

Meanwhile, Auxin’s petition relied on misinterpreted knowledge

The sleuths at Canary Media discovered from BloombergNEF’’s Jenny Chase and Pol Lezcano that Auxin misinterpreted their knowledge within the authentic petition that brought on this whole mess within the first place. Auxin’s case within the perition relied closely on the interpretation of that knowledge. Here’s an instance, highlighted by Chase and Lezcano:

Auxin additionally factors to an announcement within the BloombergNEF Report that “the majority of goods the U.S. imports {i.e., solar panels} arrive from Southeast Asia post assembly,” however “70% of the actual value of that equipment {solar panels} accrues to China where key, pre-assembly steps in the making of the equipment take place, including production of solar-grade silicon, ingots, wafers and cells.”

The BNEF researchers informed Canary Media that the 70% knowledge level refers back to the “cash cost” of the parts making up completed solar panels. It doesn’t embody the funding in and depreciation of factories that produce solar cells and modules within the 4 international locations in query, to not point out the final and administrative bills of working them.

“It still costs a lot of upfront capex to build a new factory, regardless of where you site it,” Chase and Lezcano famous.

So, this might harm the case that the work being completed in these international locations is insignificant, which is your complete query earlier than Commerce in initiating and ruling on an anti-dumping case.

In mild of that revelation, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is looking on Commerce officers to place an instantaneous finish to its tariff investigation, which is devastating the U.S. solar trade.

“There is now direct evidence from BloombergNEF researchers that the data Commerce officials used to bring America’s booming solar industry to its knees was misinterpreted, and should have never been relied upon as a basis for Commerce’s action,” mentioned ACORE’s President and CEO Gregory Wetstone. “This development follows months of needless disruption to the U.S. solar market, including significant project delays, cancellations and layoffs that have undoubtedly set us back in achieving our clean energy and climate goals. American workers, electricity consumers, and anyone concerned about combatting climate change have all paid a price. “Given this important new information, we call on Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to put an immediate end to this inquiry and the possibility of retroactive solar tariffs.”

Please keep tuned for way more from us on the anti-dumping commerce case. And reminder to change into a subscriber to Solar Builder. It is all of our greatest stuff, delivered quarterly. And, hey, it’s free. This subsequent difficulty has a giant utility-scale focus.

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Tags: tariffs, commerce case

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