US launches probe into imports of photovoltaic cells: WTO

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Geneva (AFP) – The United States has launched an investigation into imports of photovoltaic or solar cells, to determine if they pose a threat to American industry, the World Trade Organisation said on Monday.

“The United States notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on May 17, 2017, a safeguard investigation on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, ” the WTO said in a brief statement.

This decision followed a request by Suniva, an American manufacturer of solar cells, the United States said in a document sent to the WTO.

Photovoltaic cells are used to convert sunlight into electricity, for example in solar panels.

“A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or is threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry,” the WTO said in its statement.

If that is found to be the case then a WTO member may restrict imports of a product “temporarily,” the trade body said in its statement.

The global trade body said that during the probe, importers, exporters and other interested parties would be able to present evidence and views on the matter.

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