Trump Faces Another Legal Battle Over Stiffer Solar Tariffs

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, January 4, 2021

A Washington-based solar-lobbying group is challenging an October proclamation by President Donald Trump that stiffened tariffs on imported solar equipment.

Late Tuesday, the Solar Energy Industries Association and developers including NextEra Energy Inc. and Invenergy Renewables LLC asked the U.S. Court of International Trade for an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the proclamation, which removed a tariff exemption on two-sided, or bifacial, panels. The lawsuit contends the Trump administration “failed to follow the required procedures” before acting.

The U.S. Commerce Department and NextEra didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Invenergy declined to comment.

Trump’s proclamation also increased the tariff rate in its fourth year to 18% from 15%.

The legal challenge comes more than a month after a trade-court judge ruledthat Trump’s proclamation to kill the bifacial loophole didn’t violate an earlier court order. But that judge in his order said that the proclamation could be challenged under a separate action.

The case is Solar Energy Industries Association v. U.S., 20-3941, U.S. Court of International Trade (New York).

— With assistance by Susan Decker, and Mario Parker

(Updates with company comment in third paragraph.)