Trade officials in the United States delay their decision on new solar tariffs because US officials are concerned about delays in their purchase of new taxation

Trade officials in the United States delay their decision on new solar tariffs because US officials  ...

The United States Department of Commerce requested additional information from a group of anonymous domestic solar companies on Wednesday before it would consider imposing duties on panels made in three Southeast Asian countries.

The move delays the department's decision, which was expected this week. The case is the latest dispute between U.S. solar project builders that rely on cheap imports for the majority of their supplies and the tiny domestic manufacturing sector that says it can't compete effectively with the flood of low-priced importations from Asia.

Solar project developers in the United States have lobbied against any Commerce inquiry into new tariffs, claiming that the probe alone will spook foreign solar producers they rely on and cripple a sector that is crucial to achieving the nation's climate change goals.

Last month, the anonymous group seeking the tariffs asked the Commerce Department to investigate whether imports from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam were unfair. It accuses Chinese producers of transferring manufacturing to those nations in order to avoid US duties on solar cells and panels made in China.

The Commerce department issued the group's attorney, Timothy Brightbill, a letter to the so-called American Solar Manufacturers Against Chinese Circumvention on Wednesday, which set an October 6 deadline for the Chinese Solar Manufacturing Association to answer obstructing dozens of questions.

Members of the group are asked to identify themselves in one question. The group said in filings with Commerce that its members wanted to remain anonymous because they fear retribution on the marketplace, a claim the department has asked it to explain.

The department stated it would issue a decision within 45 days of receiving receptive.

Brightbill did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The United States Solar Energy Industries Association, the trade group that opposes the tariff request, expressed its disappointment that the department didn't dismiss the group's petition unintentionally, but that additional information would show that petitioners "have no case."

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