WTO supports the United States with a solar cell case brought by China


Brussels — The United States won a lawsuit filed by China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Thursday over US measures to restrict imports of solar panel cells.

The three WTO committees rejected all four claims by China, stating that the measures did not violate world trade rules.

The United States imposed tariffs and quotas in 2018 after US producers complained that imports of certain crystalline silicon solar cells had increased to the point of serious harm to US domestic industry.

The “safeguard” measures will be implemented for four years and the tariff rate will be reduced annually from the original 30 percent. The obligation was applied to the solar module and beyond the set quota to the solar cell.

The Chinese administration has challenged the measures in a series of ways, including Washington’s failure to establish a causal link between increased imports and harm to industry.

“We welcome the findings of the WTO Panel, which rejected China’s challenge to US solar safeguards as groundless,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.

Safeguards were implemented by then-President Donald Trump at the same time as the same three-year washing machine measures. Trump extended them by two years shortly before leaving the office in early 2021.

Philip Brenkinsop