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U.S. Imposes Safeguard Tariffs on Clothes Washers and Solar Cells

President Trump approved on 22 January the imposition of safeguard measures in the Section 201 global safeguard investigations on large residential washing machines and solar cells and modules. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative made the remedy recommendations to the president based on consultations with the inter-agency Trade Policy Committee in response to findings by the U.S. International Trade Commission that increased foreign imports of washers and solar cells and modules are a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic manufacturers. The safeguard measures will enter into force on 7 February.

Large Residential Washers

Large residential washers imported into the United States will be subject to a tariff-rate quota of 1.2 million units for a period of three years. In-quota imports will face a safeguard tariff of 20 percent in the first year (7 February 2018 through 6 February 2019), 18 percent in the second year (7 February 2019 through 6 February 2020) and 16 percent in the third year (7 February 2020 through 7 February 2021). Out-of-quota merchandise, meanwhile, will face a safeguard tariff of 50 percent in the first year, 45 percent in the second year and 40 percent in the third year.

A separate TRQ has been imposed on covered parts of LRWs, with any imports above the TRQ facing a tariff of 50 percent in the first year, 45 percent in the second year and 40 percent in the third year. This TRQ has been set at 50,000 units in the first year and will then be raised to 70,000 units in the second year and 90,000 units in the third year, with in-quota imports facing no safeguard tariffs.

Imports from the following countries have been excluded from the safeguard measure: Canada, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Island, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The articles covered by the safeguard measure are household-type (residential) washing machines, including machines that both wash and dry, whether or not with a dry linen capacity exceeding 10 kilogrammes. Subject merchandise includes automatic clothes washing machines regardless of the orientation of the rotational axis, each with a cabinet width (measured from its widest point) of at least 62.23 centimetres and no more than 81.28 cm. These goods are classified under HTSUS 8450.11.0040, 8450.11.0080, 8450.20.0040 and 8450.20.0080.

Also covered are the following LRW parts: (i) all cabinets or portions thereof designed for use in LRWs that incorporate, at a minimum, a side wrapper, a base and a drive hub (these parts are classified under HTSUS 8450.90.60); (ii) all assembled tubs designed for use in LRWs that incorporate, at a minimum, a tub and a seal (these parts are classified under HTSUS 8450.90.20); and (iii) any combination of the fore-going parts or subassemblies classified under HTSUS 8450.90.20 or 8450.90.60.

Excluded from the scope of the safeguard measure are stacked washer-dryers and commercial washers. The term “stacked washer-dryers” denotes distinct washing and drying machines that are built on a unitary frame and share a common console that controls both the washer and the dryer. The term ‘‘commercial washer’’ denotes an automatic clothes washing machine designed for the ‘‘pay per use’’ segment meeting certain conditions. Also excluded from the scope are:

  • automatic clothes washing machines that meet all of the following conditions: (i) have a vertical rotational axis; (ii) are top loading; and (iii) have a drive train consisting, inter alia, of a permanent split capacitor motor, a belt drive and a flat wrap spring clutch;
  • automatic clothes washing machines that meet all of the following conditions: (i) have a horizontal rotational axis; (ii) are front loading; and (iii) have a drive train consisting, inter alia, of a controlled induction motor and a belt drive; and
  • automatic clothes washing machines that meet all of the following conditions: (i) have a horizontal rotational axis; (ii) are front loading; and (iii) have cabinet width (measured from its widest point) of more than 72.39 cm.

Solar Cells and Modules

Crystalline silicone photovoltaic cells and modules will face a safeguard tariff of 30 percent in the first year (7 February 2018 through 6 February 2019), 25 percent in the second year (7 February 2019 through 6 February 2020), 20 percent in the third year (7 February 2020 through 6 February 2021) and 15 percent in the fourth year (7 February 2021 through 6 February 2022). In the case of CSPV modules, the tariff will be imposed on the declared value of such modules, including the cost or value of the non-cell portions thereof (such as aluminium frames). Imports of CSPV cells up to 2.5 gigawatts per year will be exempt from the safeguard measure, however. Moreover, importers of subject cells will be required to report to U.S. Customs and Border Protection the electricity power output attributable to such cells.

Imports from the following countries have been excluded from the safeguard measure: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Island, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The articles covered by the safeguard measure are CSPV cells of a thickness equal to or greater than 20 micrometres, having a p/n junction (or variant thereof) formed by any means, whether or not the cell or subassemblies thereof provided for under HTSUS 8541.40.6030 has undergone other processing, including cleaning, etching, coating and/or addition of materials (including metallisation and conductor patterns) to collect and forward the electricity that is generated by the cell. Such cells include photovoltaic cells that contain crystalline silicon in addition to other photovoltaic materials. This includes passivated emitter rear contact cells, heterojunction with intrinsic thin-layer cells and other so-called hybrid cells. Covered within the scope are goods presented in cell form and which at the time of importation are not presented assembled into circuits, laminates or modules, or made up into panels.

The term “module” is defined as a joined group of CSPV cells, regardless of the number of cells or the shape of the joined group, that are capable of generating electricity. Also included as a module are goods each known as a panel comprising a CSPV cell that has undergone any processing, assembly or interconnection (including assembly into a laminate). Such CSPV cells assembled into modules or made up into panels include goods of a type classified under HTSUS 8541.40.6020, as well as CSPV cells that are presented attached to inverters or batteries of HSTUS subheading 8501.61.00 or 8507.20.80 and CSPV cells classifiable as DC generators of HTSUS subheading 8501.31.80.

The following goods are excluded from the scope of the safeguard measure.

  • thin film photovoltaic products produced from amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)
  • CSPV cells not exceeding 10,000 mm in surface area that are permanently integrated into a consumer good whose primary function is other than power generation and that consumes the electricity generated by the integrated cell (where more than one CSPV cell is permanently integrated into a consumer good, the surface area for purposes of this exclusion is the total combined surface area of all cells that are integrated into the consumer good)
  • CSPV cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, if such cells were manufactured in the United States
  • 10 to 60 watt rectangular solar panels where the panels have (i) length of 250 rom or more but not over 482 rom or width of 400 rom or more but not over 635 rom, and (ii) surface area of 1,000 cm or more but not over 3,061 cm, provided the panel does not contain an internal battery or external computer peripheral ports at the time of entry;
  • 1 watt solar panels incorporated into nightlights that use rechargeable batteries and have the following dimensions: 58 rom or more but not over 64 rom by 126 rom or more but not over 140 rom
  • 2 watt solar panels incorporated into daylight dimmers that may use rechargeable batteries, with the following dimensions: 75 mm or more but not over 82 mm by 139 mm or more but not over 143 mm
  • off-grid and portable CSPV panels, whether in a foldable case or in rigid form containing a glass cover, with the following characteristics: (i) a total power output of 100 watts or less per panel, (ii) a maximum surface area of 8,000 cm per panel, (iii) do not include a built-in inverter, and (iv) where the panels have glass covers such panels must be in individual retail packaging
  • 3.19 watt or less solar panels, each with length of 75 mm or more but not over 266 mm and width of 46 mm or more but not over 127 mm, with a surface area of338 cm or less, with one black wire and one red wire (each of type 22 A WG or 24 AWG) not more than 206 mm in length when measured from panel edge, provided that no such panel contains an internal battery or external computer peripheral ports
  • 27.1 watt or less solar panels, each with surface area less than 3,000 cm and coated across the entire surface with a polyurethane doming resin, the fore-going joined to a battery charging and maintaining unit, such unit which is an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene box that incorporates a light emitting diode by coated wires that include a connector to permit the incorporation of an extension cable.
Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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