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Lawmakers Express Concern About Possible Remedies on Solar Cells

A group of 41 House and Senate Republicans have expressed concern in separate letters to USTR Lighthizer about the potential negative effects of the proposed safeguard remedies on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules. In a 4 December 2017 letter, 35 House Republicans urged Lighthizer to “carefully consider the negative impacts the proposed trade remedies would have on the entire American solar industry, including solar manufacturing.” Six Republican senators echoed that sentiment in a 5 December 2017 letter, noting that while the remedies proposed by the U.S. International Trade Commission are not as tough as those requested by the petitioners, “their implementation would cause irreparable damage to our domestic solar industry.”

Both letters state that the proposed remedies could hurt domestic solar manufacturing and jeopardise solar industry growth in investments, installations and jobs. They assert that the requested remedies would double the price of solar panels and stop solar growth “dead in its tracks.” In addition, the letter by the House lawmakers warns that if the remedies are implemented 38,000 solar jobs as well as billions of dollars in investment would be at risk. In all, the letter says, it is estimated that over 84,000 American solar jobs could be lost by 2020.

President Trump faces a 12 January 2018 deadline to decide whether to impose any remedies in this proceeding. Possible remedies could include new or higher tariffs, quotas or tariff-rate quotas, voluntary restraint agreements, import licence requirements, minimum import prices or other measures. Three USITC commissioners have recommended the imposition of a TRQ on solar cells as well as additional duties on solar modules, while one commissioner favours a quota on both cells and modules.

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