IMPLEMENTATION LEVEL

National

AFFECTED FLOW

Inflow

ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARY

No

NON-TRADE-RELATED RATIONALE

No

ELIGIBLE FIRMS

all

JUMBO

No

TARIFF PEAK

No
← back to the state act
Inception date: 09 Jan 2009 | Removal date: open ended
Still in force

Import tariff

A ruling issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on January 9, 2009 has the effect of raising the tariff on certain solar panels from zero to 2.5%. CBP ruled that solar panels that are equipped with a special diode should be classified as more sophisticated generators.
The ruling was issued in response to an inquiry by a firm (GES USA) about what the tariff would be on certain solar panels imported from China. Solar panels have entered the United States duty-free for more than twenty years. Customs responded to the query with a ruling that the panels in question, equipped with a diode that allows electric current to pass around areas of the panel that are in shade, fall into a different category. By finding that these devices are in fact electric generators, CBP made them subject to a duty of 2.5%. CBP stated in its ruling that:
 
You suggested that the Trinasolar TSM-175D solar module is classifiable under subheading 8541.40.6020 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Subheading 8541.40.6020 provides for 'Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules ... Photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels ... Other diodes: Other: Solar cells: Assembled into modules or made up into panels.' However, Explanatory Note (EN) 85.41 (B) (i) states that heading 8541 does not cover panels or modules equipped with elements, however simple, i.e. diodes to control the direction of the current. As such, since the Trinasolar TSM-175D solar module does contain diodes, classification under subheading HTSUS 8541.40.6020 is inapplicable.
The applicable subheading for the Trinasolar TSM-175D solar module will be 8501.31.8000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for 'Electric motors and generators: Other DC motors; DC generators: Of an output not exceeding 750 W: Generators.' The rate of duty will be 2.5%.

The Solar Energy Industries Association is 'in the process of preparing a challenge' to the ruling, according to SEIA President Rhone Resch. SEIA hopes to persuade CBP to overturn the ruling issued by the New York office. The group represents both U.S. and foreign solar energy companies.

AFFECTED COUNTRIES

MAP
TABLE
EXPORT

AFFECTED SECTORS AND PRODUCTS

461 Electric motors, generators & transformers; parts
8501 Electric motors and generators (excluding generating sets).
850110 Motors of an output not exceeding 37.5 W
850120 Universal AC/DC motors of an output exceeding 37.5 W
850131 Of an output not exceeding 750 W
850132 Of an output exceeding 750 W but not exceeding 75 kW
850133 Of an output exceeding 75 kW but not exceeding 375 kW
850134 Of an output exceeding 375 kW
850140 Other AC motors, singlephase
850151 Of an output not exceeding 750 W
850152 Of an output exceeding 750 W but not exceeding 75 kW
850153 Of an output exceeding 75 kW
850161 Of an output not exceeding 75 kVA
850162 Of an output exceeding 75 kVA but not exceeding 375 kVA
850163 Of an output exceeding 375 kVA but not exceeding 750 kVA
850164 Of an output exceeding 750 kVA
471 Electronic valves & tubes; electronic components; parts
8541 Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light emitting diodes; mounted piezoelectric crystals.
854110 Diodes, other than photosensitive or light emitting diodes
854121 With a dissipation rate of less than 1 W
854129 Other
854130 Thyristors, diacs and triacs, other than photosensitive devices
854140 Photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light emitting diodes
854150 Other semiconductor devices
854160 Mounted piezoelectric crystals
854190 Parts

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