Commerce wants to know how much Chinese aluminum and glass are used in imported solar panels

The Dept. of Commerce has sent out questionnaires to solar panel companies working in four Southeast Asian countries, asking for proof of their export activities. This is the next step in the latest trade battle to disrupt the US solar industry.

Commerce has initiated country-wide circumvention inquiries to determine if solar cells and modules exported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam that use Chinese components are circumventing antidumping and countervailing duty (AV/CVD) orders on solar cells from China, which have been in affect since 2012. California solar panel assembler Auxin Solar petitioned Commerce to look into the potential circumvention.

Questioned companies must provide the total quantity (in watts) and total value (in US dollars) of solar cell and module shipments to the United States that used components from China during the export period of 2016 through 2021. Commerce wants information on any Chinese wafers , silane, silver paste, solar glass, aluminum frames, junction boxes, EVA sheets and backsheets used in exported cells and modules.

Companies in Thailand and Vietnam have until April 20, 2022, to provide the requested information. Companies in Cambodia and Malaysia have until April 21. The submissions must be accompanied by a certificate of accuracy.

The solar companies being questioned are those listed by Auxin Solar in its circumvention investigation request and any in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) import data for the requested period.

Some of the significant companies sent questionnaires:

Cambodia (12 companies sent questionnaires, including): BYD, ET Solar

Malaysia (20 companies total): Hanwha Q CELLS, JA Solar, JinkoSolar, LONGi, Panasonic

Thailand (18 companies total): Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar, Talesun, Trina Solar, Vina Solar (LONGi)

Vietnam (26 companies total): Boviet Solar, Canadian Solar, GCL, JA Solar, JinkoSolar, Silfab, Sunergy (VSUN), Trina Solar, Vina Solar (LONGi)

After collection of the questionnaires, Commerce should present preliminary findings of its investigation on August 30, 2022, along with a preliminary duty rate for all importers of the affected products. A final decision would then be made on Jan. 26, 2023.

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