October 13 (Reuters) – A US solar group seeking import tariffs on panels made by Chinese companies in Southeast Asia has refused a request by federal trade officials to reveal the identity of its members, citing fears of retaliation from Beijing, according to a document from the group filed Wednesday with the Commerce Ministry.
The lawsuit filed by the American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC) group is the latest development in a long-standing clash between America’s small domestic solar industry and a much larger contingent of U.S. solar project builders over Asian imports.
US manufacturers are eager to stamp out low-cost foreign competition, while installers rely heavily on cheap imports to keep their businesses profitable.
In August, the national group asked the Commerce Department to determine whether imports from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were unfair, arguing that Chinese companies had shifted production to those countries in recent years to avoid US taxes. existing on solar cells and panels made in China.
At the end of last month, the Commerce Department postponed a decision on the request and requested https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-commerce-seeks-more-detail-domestic-solar-producers -tariff-case-2021 -09-29 for the group to identify its members.
In its response to the department, the group refused and argued that identifying its members could expose them to retaliation from Chinese industry, which dominates the global solar supply chain and could disrupt supply of components. essential solar panels like polysilicon.
“Granting confidential treatment to members of the A-SMACC is the only way for these US companies to protect their vital business interests while seeking their statutory right to seek protection against unfair business practices,” the file said.
U.S. solar project developers, who make up the bulk of the domestic industry, have lobbied forcefully against the new tariffs, saying they would cripple a sector critical to meeting the Biden administration’s climate goals. (Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Jan Harvey)