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Solar tracking components singled out for new import duties

The Dept. of Commerce announced preliminary determinations from an ongoing investigation that aluminum extrusion producers and exporters in China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam imported aluminum extrusions at less-than-fair value in the United States. Since they are preliminary determinations, Commerce will continue to collect information and accept comments from relevant parties while the investigation is active.

Solar products affected by this investigation include tracker assemblies, racking and mounts made from aluminum extruded in the countries under investigation. Two components that are cited in the latest updates to the scope are actuators and bearings used on solar tracker systems.

GameChange Solar, a company producing racking and tracker structures, filed comments in November 2023 for the Dept. of Commerce to remove bearings, off-grid PV modules and actuators from consideration for these import duties. Commerce amended the scope, removing bearings and off-grid modules, but actuators remain subject to impending duties. GameChange filed comments again on March 28 to remove actuators, arguing that this hardware, much like preassembled solar modules — which are excluded from these duties — have many more components than extruded aluminum.

The U.S. Aluminum Extruders Coalition and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International unions — petitioners in this case — commended Commerce’s decision to impose duties and urged the department to maintain these decisions in the final phase of the proceeding, according to a press release.

“The Commerce department’s findings against these 14 countries show just how widespread dumping practices are globally and highlight the importance of strongly enforcing the antidumping laws to shield U.S. businesses and workers from the devastating effects of unfair trade,” said Robert E. DeFrancesco, trade counsel to the petitioners and a partner in the International Trade Practice at Wiley. “We are encouraged by the preliminary affirmative findings and will continue to work with the Commerce Department to ensure that for its final determination, the margins properly reflect the full amount of dumping taking place by the foreign producers.”

Commerce calculated affirmative preliminary dumping rates from these countries in the following ranges: China 4.91 to 376.85%; Colombia 8.85 to 34.47%, Ecuador 17.23 to 51.20%; India 3.44 to 39.05%; Indonesia 5.66 to 112.21%; Italy 15.3 to 41.67%; South Korea 2.42%; Malaysia 26.7 to 27.51%; Mexico 9.18 to 82.03%; Taiwan 33.93 to 57.86%; Thailand 2.02 to 4.04%; Turkey 45.44 to 602.72%; UAE 9.13-42.29%; and Vietnam 2.85-41.84%.

Commerce’s determination establishes the preliminary duty rates in the dumping segments of the investigations. One week following the publication of Commerce’s preliminary determination in the Federal Register, the department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to begin suspending liquidation and collecting preliminary duties (in the form of cash deposits) on entries of aluminum extrusions from these 14 countries. For imports from China, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, antidumping duties will be added to countervailing duties announced on March 5, 2024.

Commerce is scheduled to issue its final determinations in mid-July, which could be extended to late September 2024, and the preliminary calculated rates may increase.

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