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WTO rejects China’s ‘baseless’ protest to United States solar panel tariffs

The World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute panel has dismissed all four of China’s allegations against the United States pertaining to safeguard measures implemented by the Trump administration on the solar panels imported from the Chinese producers. It was not established that the United States’ protections against imports of particular crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells have been inconsistent with the World Trade Organization’s regulations on the measures, according to a study published by the Geneva-based organization.

After a particular number of solar panels was imported, then-President Donald Trump declared 4 years of import limitations and taxes on solar panels, which were referred to as tariff-rate quotas, in January 2018. That was in reaction to a trade dispute launched in April 2017 by the bankrupt United States solar manufacturer who claimed that it had been affected by a flood of low-cost imports, primarily from Asia, that had caused it to go out of business. In October of that year, the United States International Trade Commission concurred, clearing the door for Trump’s final judgment.

On Twitter, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai expressed her delight with the World Trade Organization’s rejection of “China’s unfounded challenges to the United States solar protection.” “I applauded the results of the @WTO panel, which found that China’s spurious challenges to the United States solar guarantee were unfounded. According to Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai), “Our agenda promotes clean energy supply chains, and we must invest in solar’s ability to create well-paying American jobs,” she said in a tweet on September 3, 2021.

According to Bloomberg statistics, Chinese solar panel vendors flooded the United States solar market with panels towards the end of 2017, as buyers tried to avoid paying a 30 percent import tariff on solar panels. Similarly, in an emailed statement, Tai stated, “We must make significant infrastructure spending that unleashes the full possibilities of solar energy and develop good-paying employment in cutting-edge industries that will help tackle the climate issue.” In August 2019, the World Trade Organization’s dispute-settlement body convened a panel to examine China’s case. Beijing claimed that the United States had acted infrequently with a series of papers in the organization’s general agreement on the tariffs and trade.

One of China’s claims that the WTO rejected was that the United States had failed to prove the necessary causal relationship between the additional imports and the substantial injury that had been discovered. Unless either the United States or China notifies the dispute-settlement body of a desire to appeal, the body will adopt the panel’s report within 60 days.

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