SEIA refits

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2022

Solar industry advocates are fuming after Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo defended her department’s probe into solar part imports from Southeast Asia during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Raimondo said the ongoing investigation complied with mandatory statute following Auxin Solar’s tariff petition, adding that political and climate factors can’t be factored into the process to determine whether Southeast Asian companies were involved in tariff circumvention. She also waved off concerns that the investigation could lead to retroactive tariffs ranging from 50 to 250 percent as “exceedingly unlikely,” though “It is true Commerce would be permitted to impose a tariff at that excessive level.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA, told reporters she was personally “fairly outraged by some of the things that the secretary said.” Hopper said Raimondo left open the door to high tariff rates, which could have a chilling effect on imports, and did little to address the market uncertainty.

“I think the way that people who are looking at a global market and looking at strong demand and stable policy in other countries, they’re going to go and send their product to other countries, which is the reason why we’re not getting our products here,” Hopper said.

Hopper also called for an explicit legislative authorization for the secretary to weigh public good or public interest when considering these cases, which she said does not exist in the Auxin case. That type of legislative action came up in the hearing Wednesday, and a spokesperson for Sen. Jacky Rosen, who recently led a letter opposing the probe , told POLITICO’s Kelsey Tamborrino the senator is looking at legislative options and is in preliminary conversations with Sen. Jerry Moran‘s (R-Kan.) staff.