Canadian solar companies sue Trump over tariffs
A handful of Canadian companies that make solar panels are suing the Trump administration over the 30-percent tariffs the president imposed last month on their products.
In their lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the United States Court of International Trade, the three companies say that since Canadian solar imports do not harm United States producers, the tariffs violate the Trade Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“Because the proclamation is unlawful as applied to plaintiffs, and inflicts grave and irreversible harms on them, plaintiffs seek a declaration that the proclamation violates the Trade Act and the NAFTA Implementation Act and an injunction prohibiting its enforcements against plaintiffs,” they wrote.
The companies bringing the lawsuit are Silfab Solar Inc., Heliene Inc. and Canada Solar Solutions Inc.
In response to a plea by two ailing U.S. solar companies last year, President Trump in January put a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules from any country except developing ones.
Trump said it will help domestic manufacturers and create jobs. But the bulk of the solar industry opposed the tariffs, saying it would increase their costs, since they rely heavily on imported supplies.
The penalty, implemented alongside tariffs on washing machines, phases out within four years.
The Canadian companies alleged specifically that Trump’s tariffs on Canadian products are illegal because of the International Trade Commission’s conclusion that Canadian imports aren’t harmful; they violate a NAFTA prohibition on quantitative import restrictions; and Trump did not demonstrate the high bar needed to impose tariffs on NAFTA countries.
The Court of International Trade is a special court based in New York City that only hears cases concerning trade.
South Korea, Taiwan and the European Union have separately filed complaints in the World Trade Organization over the solar tariffs. China has criticized them and said they’re illegal as well.