In the weeks following the ruling on the Section 201 Trade Case, Itek has established an ongoing channel of communication with the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The USTR is part of the Executive Office of the President and is the agency responsible for developing and recommending US trade policy, as well as conducting trade negotiations. The USTR is responsible for overseeing the deployment of the solar tariffs and has the authority to make changes if deemed necessary for the tariff to have the intended affect – supporting US solar cell and solar module manufacturers.
Itek has confirmed that all modules imported into the United States after February 7, 2018 are subject to a 30% tariff, including imports from Canada, Mexico, and other “preferred-trade countries”. The impact of this tariff on the national solar market is still developing. In Washington State, Itek does not expect the tariff to negatively impact the strong solar growth in the next year.
The tariff-free 2.5 gigawatts of solar cell imports that are allowed each year under the tariff (the tariff year will be tracked from February 7th to February 6th of the following year) will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. There are safeguards in place that will protect U.S. manufacturers from any misuse or violations of the intended function of this quota.
After review, Itek does not expect the tariffs to negatively impact our material supply or our continued expansion into the national solar market. Itek invested millions of dollars in a new facility in 2017 prior to the tariff ruling, and we are continuing to invest after the ruling, doubling our capacity in the first part of 2018.
We are confident that the ruling on this case, and the continued oversight by the USTR, will support Itek’s continued development with a strong foundation in Washington State and expansion from that foundation into other regions of the United States.