By Caribbean News Global
USA / CANADA – The United States and Canada announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to settle a dispute on trade in solar products under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The MOU promotes greater North American solar supply integration and reaffirms both countries’ commitment to prohibit imports of solar products produced in whole or in part with forced or compulsory labor. The MOU also contains a mechanism to ensure that solar product imports from Canada do not undermine the existing US safeguard measure on imports of solar products. Ambassador Katherine Tai and minister Mary Ng will sign the MOU on July 8, 2022.
Mary Ng, minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development said:
“Canada and the United States have one of the most collaborative, productive and mutually beneficial bilateral relationships in the world. We have shared goals and commitments to fight climate change, create jobs and support the development and scale-up of renewable energy technologies right here in North America.”
This agreement follows Canada’s victory at a CUSMA dispute panel earlier this year, which found that the United States’ tariffs were in violation of CUSMA.
“This agreement will bring stability and predictability to our renewable energy sector and strengthen North American competitiveness. It is a clear recognition of Canada’s place as a leader in the fight against climate change, and that Canadian producers of solar technology will continue to supply global markets at an increasing rate,” said media relations office of Global Affairs Canada. “This agreement is only possible due to the strong dispute settlement mechanism that Canada successfully negotiated and protected within CUSMA. It reaffirms the importance of upholding rules-based trade both here in North America, and around the world.”
US ambassador Katherine Tai said: “Tackling the climate crisis has been a top priority from day one of the Biden Administration and we have continued to forge a clean energy transition that will protect our planet. Reaching this settlement with Canada will promote greater deployment of solar energy in the United States using products from one of our closest allies, and foster a more resilient North American supply chain for clean energy products made without forced labor.”
In early 2018, the United States imposed the solar safeguard measure to support the domestic solar industry’s efforts to adjust to import competition primarily attributable to excess solar cell and module capacity by Chinese producers in China and around the world and exacerbated by China’s non-market practices. The safeguard measure was established after the US International Trade Commission (USITC) found that the domestic solar industry was seriously injured by increased imports.
On February 4, 2022, president Biden extended the solar safeguard measure for an additional four years and directed the United States Trade Representative to conclude agreements with Canada and Mexico on trade in solar products. On February 15, 2022, a USMCA panel issued its report, finding that the prior Administration’s decision to include imports from Canada in the solar safeguard measure was inconsistent with certain USMCA rules. The MOU with Canada also constitutes a resolution of this outstanding dispute.
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