CPA Praises Presidential Proclamation on U.S. Solar Manufacturing

October 12, 2020

Trump administration closes tariff loophole on imports of bifacial solar panels

Washington. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) has strongly praised a new proclamation by President Trump intended to accelerate the growth of America’s solar manufacturing industry. The president’s proclamation will close a loophole for tariffs on imported solar panels and also slow step-down in the tariff rate to 18 percent for 2021. CPA has long called for action to defend America’s burgeoning solar industry against subsidized imports from China, and has urged the elimination of a tariff exemption for “bifacial” solar panels. The president’s action is expected to safeguard thousands of skilled, good-paying jobs in America’s solar sector while also preserving opportunities for future growth. 

“This is a great win for American manufacturing,” said CPA Chair Dan DiMicco. “The solar industry was invented in the United States and the president’s effort will ensure that America’s solar sector can continue to compete against a steady flood of heavily subsidized imports from China. High-tech industries like solar support the skilled jobs and technological prowess needed to preserve America’s economic and national security. We’re pleased to see the president take such an important step to guard the nation’s advanced technology future.” 

President Trump’s proclamation will close a loophole being exploited in the current Section 201 solar panel tariffs that had allowed two-sided (bifacial) solar modules to enter the United States tariff-free. The proclamation also establishes an 18 percent tariff on solar imports for 2021. Although that tariff rate was slated to step down to 15 percent, the 18 percent rate will address low-priced imports offsetting the tariffs’ effectiveness. CPA believes the president’s proclamation could help support the growth of the US solar industry. 

In January 2018, the Trump administration implemented
tariffs on imports of solar panels after determining that China’s solar producers were selling product in the United States for less than fair market value—and to the detriment of U.S. manufacturers. In fact, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) found that, by 2017, the U.S. solar industry had almost entirely disappeared, with China progressively dominating worldwide solar production. Of the Top 10 global solar module manufacturers, eight are located in China—with only two in the United States, First Solar Corporation and Q Cells. Since the tariffs were imposed, however, America’s solar industry has seen significant growth. At least a dozen companies have subsequently invested in U.S. production of solar modules.

Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA, said, “These tariffs are extremely important for reestablishing and growing America’s solar supply chain. Beginning in June 2019, importers exploited a loophole for bifacial solar panels. For more than a year, we’ve fought to close that loophole. We’re gratified to see the administration now taking action.”

Stumo added, “This is a critical industry for the United States. A multi-agency effort led by the U.S. Trade Representative has stemmed China’s massive solar subsidization and provided opportunities for future growth at home. High-tech products like these must be developed and built here in the United States.”

Read more about growth in America’s solar industry following the 2018 tariffs.


Media Contact: 
Melissa Tallman, Director of Marketing and Communications 
202.688.5145 ext 3

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