Ohio senators call for action against India's solar panel tariffs

Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R) on Monday urged the Obama administration to challenge India’s recent decision to levy tariffs on U.S. solar panels.

Brown and Portman wrote a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman saying that the policy will hurt their state’s manufacturers and put them at a competitive disadvantage in international markets.

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"We write to express serious concern about recent action taken by the Indian government that will have harmful consequences for U.S. solar photovoltaic manufacturing facilities and effectively close the Indian solar market to American PV companies,” the senators wrote to Froman.

Brown and Portman have asked the trade office to address these issues with India and urge the government to reverse its decision before an Aug. 20 deadline.

“We urge you to engage the Indian government to reverse this action and to challenge their actions at the World Trade Organization (WTO) if they do not.”

They expressed concern about reports that the Indian government’s anti-dumping investigation disregarded data provided by U.S. manufacturers and used certain data to bolster the Indian industry in a way that may have violated WTO rules.

In a final determination, India recently decided to impose duties ranging from $0.11/watt to $0.48/watt against U.S. solar cell and panel products, which "would increase the price of U.S. exports to levels uncompetitive in the growing but fragile Indian energy market."

“Industry participants believe that this duty level would increase the price of U.S. module exports, making them uncompetitive in the highly price-sensitive Indian market,” the letter said.