NEW RANKING OF TRADE CASE PROCEDURES SHOWS U.S TIED FOR LAST PLACE IN
CONSIDERING DOWNSTREAM CONSUMING INDUSTRIES
Washington, DC – The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) released a chart and fact sheet today showing the United States tied with China as the country least favorable to downstream consuming industries in trade cases among seven major trading nations. The chart was released on the same day that the U.S. Commerce Department announced preliminary antidumping duties ranging from 31.14% to 249.96% on solar cells and modules imports from China.
“Commerce has not considered this impact in setting the duties despite the fact that these new duties are likely to hurt U.S. suppliers of equipment and capital for solar projects as well as project developers and installers, by making solar energy cost more and be less competitive in the US market than other forms of energy,” said CITAC Executive Director Paul Nathanson.
CITAC’s chart ranked the U.S. and six major trading partners (Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, India and Mexico) based on the fairness to consuming industries in making trade remedy decisions under (antidumping and countervailing duty – AD/CVD) laws. CITAC has advocated for many years to include consideration of downstream consuming industries (manufacturers, retailers, and distributors who rely on imported materials to be successful in the market) in making AD/CVD determinations. The US AD/CVD system received a low score because it is on the wrong side of most of the key issues of importance for consuming industries in the U.S., including the issues of prospective collection of AD/CVD duties (an essential element of predictability and fairness), the “lesser duty rule,” short supply conditions and the public interest test.
The United States has improved its position in recent years and is now tied with China for last place, because of the CITAC-led repeal of the “Byrd Amendment,” a law that distributed duties to petitioners and their supporters; and by ending the WTO-illegal practice of “zeroing” in administrative reviews in 2012.
“The imposition of the preliminary duty rates announced by Commerce today is not a surprise given that U.S. trade laws are employed to protect narrow interests at the expense of the broader economy,” stated CITAC Counsel Lewis Leibowitz, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Hogan Lovells. “The rates imposed do not reflect any consideration of downstream users of solar panels or their needs in the marketplace. This puts the U.S. at odds with most countries that regularly employ AD/CVD measures, but consider the economy at large in setting the duties. The CITAC chart shows that the US does not consider the interests of consuming industries in these cases and lags behind other countries in this regard. The U.S. can and should do a better job of balancing interests when setting restrictions on imports.”
“The result of these laws being applied without adequate consideration of downstream users will be to reduce the availability of a critical input for U.S. solar manufacturers, increase prices for these materials, cost U.S. jobs in allied industries such as electronics, construction, design and installation, and undermine President Obama’s energy policy favoring renewable energy. The Commerce Department has now placed a massive tax on solar panels at the same time the Administration is providing subsidies to the same industries and promoting solar energy as an important solution for energy independence,” said Nathanson.
For additional information, contact Caitlin Andrews at Caitlin.Andrews@bgllp.com.