US seeking tariffs on solar panel imports

US seeking tariffs on solar panel imports
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The United States has filed a petition with the World Trade Organization (WTO) that could allow it to slap emergency tariffs or quotas on imported solar cells, according to a WTO filing released Monday. 

The U.S. notified the WTO that it was launching a safeguard investigation into crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells on behalf of Suniva, a solar company. If the investigation finds serious damage to the company based on increased imports, the U.S. may take safeguard actions such as adding import taxes or setting import quotas.
 
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Suniva filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 17 and alleged in the petition that an increase in imports had taken marketshare from U.S. producers such as Suniva and SolarWorld despite an overall growth in the U.S. market. The petition alleged that 1,200 U.S. manufacturing jobs had been lost and wages had been reduced by 27 percent between 2012 and 2016.
 
It also alleged that “foreign producers, in response to the various antidumping and countervailing duty orders that were imposed on imports from China and Chinese Taipei, have opened new production facilities in third countries.”
 
President Trump rode promises of increased protectionism to electoral victory in November, but the filing is not the first volley in the solar trade war.
 
The WTO found in September that India “was illegally discriminating against U.S. solar exports,” according to Reuters.