US proposes 10% tariffs on inverters, AC modules, non-lithium batteries from China

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For months, Chinese inverter makers have watched nervously as the trade war between the United States and China escalates. And while companies like Huawei and Sungrow had been relieved at the results of previous rounds, last night their number came up.

On July 11, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released a list of hundreds of products representing US$200 billion in imports from China that his office is proposing for 10% tariffs, in retaliation for Chinese tariffs on up to $50 billion in U.S. exports.

And while the list covers many agricultural and chemical products, as well as raw materials, according to trade lawyer John Smirnow, it also includes inverters (product code 8504.40.95), AC modules (solar panels with attached microinverters) (8501.61.00), and battery storage products other than those which utilize lithium-ion chemistry.

These tariffs are being proposed under Section 301, and like previous rounds of Section 301, tariffs will now go to a review process before being finalized. Crystalline silicon solar cells and modules are currently undergoing such a review.

A hearing will be held on this new round of proposed tariffs on August 20-23. The deadline for filing to appear at this hearing is July 27, and written testimony will be taken through August 17.

We will be providing more analysis on this decision and the potential market ramifications later today.