CBP Set to Enforce Solar Utilization Rules, Notifies Importers of Compliance Obligations

February 13, 2024

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released Cargo System Messaging Service (CSMS) #59311800 on February 9 reminding importers of their compliance obligations concerning certain imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and modules (also known as solar cells and solar panels). The solar cells and modules covered by the CSMS message are those found by Commerce in 2023 to be circumventing existing antidumping and countervailing duty measures covering Chinese cells and modules through further processing in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

CBP’s message reminds importers and users of solar cells and modules that in-scope CSPV imports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam which entered into the United States after November 16, 2022, and before June 6, 2024 — during the Biden Administration’s tariff moratorium — must be utilized before December 3, 2024.

CBP defines “utilized” as “used or installed” by the utilization expiration date. Solar cells and modules entered into the United States during the specified time period, and that are not utilized prior to December 3, 2024, may be subject to applicable antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD).

Based on recent import trends, there is a risk that importers will be facing bills for duties. Official import statistics indicate that the value of CSPV imports from Cambodia increased 204% from 2022 to 2023. Similarly, imports from Malaysia have increased 107%, Thailand by 151%, and Vietnam by 57% over that same time period. At the same time, recent installation figures indicate that this volume of imports cannot actually be used or utilized by December 3, 2024, which leaves certain importers at risk for unexpected bills from CBP simply because the solar products imported were not timely used by a downstream customer.

CBP warns that importers should be ready to document the utilization of their CSPV cells and/or modules upon request, if brought into the country between November 15, 2022, and June 6, 2024. Further, if subject imports are entered without the payment of a cash deposit of antidumping and countervailing duties, and the utilization requirement has not been met, importers are instructed to file a post summary correction (PSC) with the AD/CVD cash deposit. For entries that have already liquidated and are beyond the PSC timeline, importers may file a prior disclosure with CBP.

Please contact our circumvention specialists with any questions concerning imports of CSPV products, the utilization date requirement, certification requirements, or any other concerns regarding CBP’s CSMS.