Thursday, December 7

US to lift tariffs on Canadian solar products

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OTTAWA/WASHINGTON — The United States has agreed to lift tariffs on Canadian solar products after a trade dispute settlement panel sided with Ottawa earlier this year, Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and the office of US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said.

Canada, arguing that the tariffs violated the terms of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), had sought the assistance of a dispute settlement panel last year.

In February, Canada said the panel had confirmed that the tariffs were “unjustified and in violation” of the trade pact. The United States, too, said it had prevailed on some aspects of the panel’s decision.

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Ng said the US and Canada “shared goals and commitments to fight climate change” and that the removal of tariffs would “bring stability and predictability to our renewable energy sector and strengthen North American competitiveness.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has made tackling climate change one of its top priorities and has pledged net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Former US President Donald Trump first imposed the “Section 201” safeguard tariffs on imported solar panels and cells in January 2018, but did not exempt Canada and Mexico from the duties. The terms of the USMCA eliminate most tariffs among the North American partners.

US President Joe Biden extended the tariffs for another four years in February, but in a major concession to installers he eased the terms to exclude a panel technology dominant among big US projects.

© Thomson Reuters 2022