US waives off solar panel duties for SEA nations

The Government of the United States of America (USA) has waived solar panels tariffs for four Southeast Asian (SEA) countries, including Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, for a period of two years. These countries account for about 80 per cent of total panel imports into the USA.

The duty waiver has come as a relief for the USA solar industry, which was facing uncertainty following a Department of Commerce investigation into a complaint by a local panel manufacturer. The complaint had alleged that manufacturers in those countries were using Chinese-made components to assemble panels for sale in the USA.

The tariff exemption was made to ensure sufficient supply of solar panels in the domestic market to meet energy generation requirements while domestic manufacturing capacity is increased till 2024. Currently, manufacturing accounts for a small percentage of the solar industry in the USA, with the majority of jobs centred on project planning, installation, and construction.