March 9, 2022
WASHINGTON DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging her to accept the anti-circumvention petition alleging Chinese solar companies moved manufacturing to countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to circumvent our anti-dumping and countervailing (AD/CVD) orders against Chinese-made solar cells and modules.
“A strong commitment to American manufacturing must be coupled with proper trade enforcement so that investments in American production, workers and innovation are not undermined by unfair trade practices. This is why the Department of Commerce must fully and fairly investigate these allegations of unlawful and unfair circumvention of our trade remedy laws,” write the senators.
Senators Leveling the Playground 2.0that they have introduced last April, will strengthen U.S. trade remedy laws and ensure they remain effective tools to fight unfair trade practices and protect U.S. workers. The senators’ legislation would establish the new concept of “successive investigations” to improve the effectiveness of the US trade remedy system against repeat offenders and serial cheaters, helping to level the playing field for American workers.
The full letter is available here or below.
Dear Secretary Raimondo:
We are writing to encourage you to accept the petition recently filed by a minority and woman-owned business regarding imported solar cells and modules bypassing existing anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on cells and Chinese solar modules. A strong commitment to American manufacturing must be coupled with proper trade enforcement so that investments in American production, workers, and innovation are not undermined by unfair trade practices. That is why the Department of Commerce must fully and fairly investigate these allegations of unlawful and unfair circumvention of our trade remedy laws.
In trade remedy cases, the length of time – an average of 14 months from first filing to redress – makes it clear that justice delayed is justice denied. Yet even timely justice can be thwarted by circumvention, which has been a consistent strategy of anti-competitive global players seeking to evade the demands imposed by US law. Therefore, once the International Trade Commission (ITC) finds that there is evidence of unfair trade, the Department of Commerce must ensure that the ITC’s decision stands. Where duties have been imposed on specific products from specific countries, unfairly traded imports should not be able to escape our AD/CVD orders through other third countries. In 1988, Congress gave the Commerce Department anti-circumvention authority to ensure that aggrieved domestic industries get full relief from trade remedy laws and not just half the bread.
In this case, a US manufacturer alleges that after the imposition of AD/CVD orders against Chinese-made solar cells and modules, Chinese companies established new operations in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to evade US trade remedy law restrictions and maintain control over the global solar supply chain. According to our understanding, these operations use raw materials, labor, capital investment and research and development from China. Traveling to a third country to assemble a product with inputs from the country subject to the original anti-dumping/countervailing duty order is a circumvention of the manuals. As you know, if legitimate claims of circumvention are not addressed, entire national industries and thousands of American manufacturing jobs are at risk.
Strict enforcement of our trade laws to level the playing field on which American businesses and workers can compete lays the foundation for rebuilding a strong solar industrial base in the United States. Thank you for your attention to our request and for your diligence in this circumvention investigation.