The US Department of Commerce announced the results of its preliminary investigation, finding that some Chinese manufacturers had established production bases in four ASEAN countries, including Thailand, in order to circumvent US anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) measures. If finalized, the US determination means the Chinese companies will be subject to duties of 16-254 percent on the products they make in those countries. The duties will not come into force until mid-2024, thanks to a two-year exemption introduced by the US President this year.
In 2023, Thailand’s exports of solar cell products to the US might see limited impact. The exports are expected to grow in line with potential investments in clean energy in the US, mainly driven by the Inflation Reduction Act that the US enacted in mid-August 2022. KResearch projects that the value of Thai solar cell exports to the US in 2023 may grow by 57 percent, compared to estimated growth of more than 50 percent in 2022.
However, the impact of the AD/CVD measures may become evident by 2024 when operators in US renewable energy businesses could consider reviewing their trade partners in solar cell products in order to prepare for increased import duties that will take effect by mid-2024. The US is expected to remain a major importer of Thai solar cell products. South Korea is likely to emerge as Thailand’s major competitor in the US market. Meanwhile, the degree of impact will depend on the result of Thai manufacturers’ petition to the US authorities.