Akin Gump Authors Pen Article for Law360 on U.S.-China Solar Trade Deal

“Inching Toward A Possible US-China Trade Settlement,” an article by Akin Gump international trade partner Bernd Janzen and associate Henry Almond, has been published by Law360. The article outlines discussions between the United States and China to settle a series of ongoing cases on solar products that affect billions of dollars’ worth of trade annually as well as a wide range of participants.

The cases include U.S. antidumping/countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders and investigations of, variously, Chinese-origin solar cells [known as the “Solar 1” cases] and solar products [“Solar 2”] as well as Chinese AD/CVD orders imposed on U.S.-origin polysilicon.

Janzen and Almond note that the global context for these solar cases is “complicated and difficult to navigate” due to, among other reasons, parallel EU AD/CVD investigations against Chinese-origin solar panels and China’s imposition of AD/CVD measures against imports of EU-origin polysilicon. They add that the “context is further complicated by a number of related administrative enforcement actions and judicial proceedings…includ[ing] ongoing efforts by DOC to clarify the product scope of the Solar I and Solar II cases.”

The authors write that the “immediate question that international trade lawyers and impacted companies are following is whether the Chinese government, as permitted by U.S. law, will propose a ‘suspension agreement’ in the ongoing Solar II AD investigation. China recently indicated in a preliminary submission to DOC that it is evaluating whether to propose such an agreement.”  Janzen and Almond note that this is a significant step forward, as U.S.-China suspension agreements are “exceedingly rare, particularly in recent years” and that “even if the suspension negotiations fail, the fact that China may propose a suspension agreement could kick start broader settlement discussions.”

Janzen and Almond note a number of obstacles in the way of movement toward broader settlement of ongoing litigation proceedings and close by stating that “strong political leadership and will are needed if progress is to be made toward a comprehensive settlement…[I]ndications that China may propose terms for a suspension agreement in one of the ongoing solar cases must be understood in their broader context—as a small step on a journey that promises to be difficult and long.”

To read the full article, please click here.