A U.S. solar group seeking import tariffs on panels made by Chinese companies in Southeast Asia has refused a request by federal trade officials to reveal its members' identities, citing fears of retaliation by Beijing, according to a document the group filed with the Commerce Department on Wednesday.
The filing by the group American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention (A-SMACC) is the latest development in a long-running clash between the small U.S. domestic solar manufacturing industry and a much larger contingent of U.S. solar project builders over Asian imports.
U.S. manufacturers are eager to stamp out low-priced foreign competition, while installers rely heavily on cheap imports to make their businesses profitable.
SOLAR PANELS NOT AS GREEN AS YOU THINK AS BATTLE LOOMS ON ‘MASSIVE’ PANEL TARIFFS
The domestic group in August asked the Commerce Department to investigate whether imports from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam were unfair, arguing that Chinese companies had shifted production to those nations in recent years to avoid existing U.S. duties on solar cells and panels made in China.
Late last month, the Commerce Department deferred a decision on the request and asked the group to identify its members.