Friday, 12/05/2017 | 17:25 GMT+7

USITC received a petition for global safeguard of solar modules

On April 26, 2017, the U.S based solar manufacturer Suniva, Inc. filed a petition for global safeguards with the U.S International Trade Commission (“ITC”)

The subject merchandise

The merchandises covered by this petition are crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials. The petition covers crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells that have thickness equaling to or above 20 micrometers and have a p/n junction, whether or not the cell has undergone other processing, including, but not limited to, cleaning, etching, coating, and/or addition of materials to collect and forward the electricity that is generated by the cell

The subject merchandise is classified under HS code: 8541.40.6030, 8541.40.6020 (regarding CSPV cell), 8501.61.00.00 and 8507.20.80 (regarding CSPV panel), and 8501.31.8000.

The petition expressly excludes thin film photovoltaic produced from amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). The petition also excludes crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells not exceeding 10,000 mm2 that is integrated into products for function of other than power generation.

Increase of imports of the subject merchandise into the United States

According to the petition, from 2012 to 2016, the value of the imports surged, as follows:

Year Value (in billion USD)
2012 5.1
2016 8.3

Accordingly, the value of 2016 increased 62.8% compared to 2012. The seven countries have the largest value in 2016, including: Malaysia, China, Korea, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

The value of exports of those countries from 2012 to 2016 is as follows:


Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Change compared with 2012
Malaysia 1,469,716,794 1,210,351,504 862,437,974 1,265,979,315 2,453,009,409 66.9%
China 1,685,675,190 1,143,970,077 1,569,445,838 1,687,576,685 1,497,102,443 -11.2%
Korea 140,165,723 35,737,197 108,613,194 392,813,978 1,299,584,871 827.2%
Mexico 482,223,225 439,245,330 505,966,991 911,464,269 854,257,684 77.1%
Thailand 12,306 352,488 682,743 29,832,449 520,690,347 4,231,090.9%
Vietnam 914,451 152,663 7,303,316 173,073,714 518,658,911 56,618.1%
Singapore 69,248,774 48,036,508 56,224,041 418,498,344 357,914,837 416.9%


As can be seen that the import value from Vietnam to the U.S is nearly 520 million USD. Vietnam is the sixth largest of exporter of the subject merchandise into the U.S and the second largest exporter in terms of rate of increase.

Alleging serious injury

The applicant alleges that solar panel imported into the U.S took over significant market share of the domestic producers and put such producers in difficult situation, loss and even closing factory, causing widespread unemployment. Additionally, the applicant alleges that the subject merchandise is attributable to price drop of solar panels, causing to serious injury of the domestic industry.

Next steps

ITC has been considering the petition and is expected to announce initiation of safeguard investigation within 15 days (until May 11, 2017), as well as schedule of the investigation and public hearing. The investigation shall be in accordance with Section 201 of Trade Act 1974.