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U.S. Commerce Department declines AD/CVD anti-circumvention petitions

November 11, 2021 Corrine Lin

CN TW EN

On November 10, the US Department of Commerce rejected the petition from American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC) to initiate an anti-circumvention investigation into cells and modules imported from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The decision of the Commerce Department is largely due to the fact that A-SMACC requested anonymity for petitioners, which could thwart the acquisition of relevant information for anti-circumventing inquiry. According to letter addressed by the Commerce Department, it is also concerning for them that A-SMACC is targeting products of particular companies (as shown in the last paragraph), rather than certain regions or companies.

Given possible extension of the Section 210 tariffs and trade barriers such as the Withhold Release Order (WRO), the decision of the Commerce Deparment has allowed a breath of relief for PV importers to the U.S.

Still, the WRO issued recently continues to be the biggest hindrance for module imports to the U.S. Successively, modules exported by Tier-1 manufacturers were detained by the U.S. Custom. This stalled the enormous production capacity in Southeast Asia, strangling overall utilization rates. Installation in the U.S. was also impacted, resulting in breathless module spot price hikes in the U.S.

In recent years, more than 70% of US module demand was fulfilled by modules from Southeast Asia. As of the end of this year, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam will posses 16.4 GW, 7.3 GW, and 13.1 GW of cell production capacity, and 14.5 GW, 7.4 GW, and 36.7 GW of module production capacity, respectively, followed by local American manufacturers, such as First Solar and Maxeon. Once the U.S. bans imports of Chinese modules, it will be difficult for the country to achieve its clean energy targets, whilst the ensuing short module supply will keep modules prices high.

Previously, manufacturers suspended production expansion projects in Southeast Asia amid uncertainties about anti-circumventing issues. As the Commerce Department dismissed the petitions, projects may resume within the short term. However, the entire event has not officially come to an end, since A-SMACC’s law firm, Wiley, has not yet responded to the rejection. Given possible trade barriers in the future, importers to the U.S. are still evaluating the possibility to set up manufacturing plants in other regions, even in the U.S. 

The petition requests anti-circumventing inquiry on the following companies:

Malaysia: 
Jinko Solar Technology Sdn. Bhd.;
LONGi (Kuching) Sdn. Bhd. and its affiliate Vina Cell Technology Company Limited and Vina Solar Technology Company Limited;
JA Solar (Malaysia) Co., Ltd. or JA Solar Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.

Thailand:
Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Thailand) Co., Ltd.;
Trina Solar Science & Technology (Thailand) Co., Ltd.;
Talesun Solar Technologies Thailand or Talesun Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd.;
Astronergy Solar Thailand Co., Ltd

Vietnam:
Trina Solar (Vietnam) Science & Technology Co., Ltd.;
Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Vietnam) Co., Ltd.;
China Sunergy Co., Ltd. in Vietnam;
Boviet Solar Technology (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. or Boviet Solar Technology Co., Ltd.;
GCL System Integration Technology (Vietnam) Co. Ltd.;
Vina Cell Technology Company Limited and Vina Solar Technology Company Limited;
LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.;
JinkoSolar (Vietnam) Co., Ltd.

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