Over the past week there has been a flurry of new U.S. trade actions that have or may impose new or increased tariffs on certain imports of Chinese merchandise and solar products.  These actions are pursuant to the Biden Administration’s authority under Sections 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and under the laws and regulations which allow for the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties (“AD/CVD”) to address so-called unfair trade practices.  This alert summarizes these new actions, potential effects of each, and next steps.

Section 201

On May 16, 2024, the Biden Administration announced changes to safeguard duties under Section 201 currently in effect on certain solar product imports from numerous countries. 

Section 201 duties on certain solar product imports have been in effect since 2018.  The current applicable rate for covered merchandise is 14.25%, and applies to any covered merchandise that is in excess of the 5 gigawatt annual tariff-rate quota.

One of the new changes announced is an expansion of merchandise covered by the Section 201 duties.  Imports of crystalline solar photovoltaic (“CSPV”) bifacial modules are currently exempt.  Pursuant to this new action, the exemption will soon be rescinded and such modules will be subject to the Section 201 duties.  Once the exclusion is rescinded, importers with pre-existing contracts for bifacial modules to be delivered within 90 days of the rescission will be able to submit a certification and such modules will remain free of Section 201 duty liability.

Another potential change is an increase to the tariff-rate quota threshold.  The Biden Administration noted that it will monitor the current quota to determine whether it should be increased from 5 gigawatts to 7.5 gigawatts “to ensure domestic module manufacturing continues to grow while manufacturers scale production throughout the supply chain.”

Concurrent with these Section 201 announcements, the Biden Administration also announced tax credit guidance for clean energy products and grants for solar supply chain technology development.  The Administration also confirmed the end of the moratorium on AD/CVD duty liabilities on certain CSPV cells and modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, and a certification mechanism to assist in the enforcement of any applicable duties.

The announcement that lays out these measures is available here.

Section 301

On May 20, 2024, the Biden Administration published a memorandum on its proposal to increase or impose new Section 301 tariffs on imports from China.  The announcement comes on the heels of a four-year review of the Section 301 tariffs first imposed in 2018 by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”), which began in 2022.  The Section 301 tariffs currently cover a wide array of merchandise imported from China.  The published memorandum is available here; the Administration’s related May 14, 2024 announcement is available here,; and USTR’s report is available here.

USTR concluded in its report that while Section 301 tariffs have provided American businesses relief, it urged the Biden Administration to take further actions to prevent forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft.  In response, President Biden directed USTR to impose these new and increased tariffs targeting strategic sectors, namely, the energy, health care, and infrastructure industries.

The tariff modifications, which will cover $18 billion in imports, and are expected as follows:

ProductCurrent RateNew RateEffective Date
Battery parts (non-lithium-ion batteries)7.5%25%2024
Lithium-ion electrical vehicle batteries         7.5%25%2024
Lithium-ion non-electrical vehicle batteries7.5%25%2026
Natural graphite0%25%2026
Certain critical minerals0%25%2024
Permanent magnets0%25%2024
Electric vehicles        25%100%2024
Medical gloves           7.5%25%2026
Syringes and needles             0%50%2024
Semiconductors         25%50%2025
Ship to shore cranes   0%25%2024
Solar cells (whether or not assembled into modules)25%50%2024
Steel and aluminum products0-7.5%25%2024

The Administration directed USTR to maintain other Section 301 tariffs still in place.  USTR is expected to publish a proposed list of products and corresponding tariff increases in the near future.  The public will be invited to provide feedback during a notice and comment period before the tariffs are finalized.  We will publish more details about that opportunity to participate when it becomes available.

In addition to the proposed tariff modifications, the Administration also announced a new tariff exclusion process to be undertaken by USTR.  American businesses will be able to request relief from the Section 301 tariffs on certain machinery used in domestic manufacturing classified under chapters 84 and 85 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.  Chapter 84 covers nuclear reactors, boilers, and mechanical appliances, and Chapter 85 covers electrical machinery, sound recorders, and reproducers. USTR will prioritize temporary exclusions for solar manufacturing equipment.  A forthcoming notice will detail the machinery exclusion process and provide instructions on how to submit exclusion requests and oppose such requests.  We will also publish more details about this opportunity to participate.

Solar III AD/CVD Investigations

On May 20, 2024, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) initiated AD/CVD investigations on imports of certain CSPV cells, whether or not assembled into modules, from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam (the “Solar III AD/CVD Investigations”).  The published notices of initiation are available here (AD) and here (CVD).  The initiation of these investigations marks the third set of AD/CVD investigations of such merchandise, with the first AD/CVD orders dating back to 2012 and covering CSPV cells from China (the “Solar 1 AD/CVD Orders”).  The Solar III AD/CVD Investigations are also a follow-on to the recently concluded circumvention inquiry determinations by Commerce, in which it concluded that certain CSPV cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam were circumventing and therefore should be subject to the Solar 1 AD/CVD Orders.

As a result of these new Solar III AD/CVD Investigations, certain CSPV cells could be subject to duty liabilities of over 125% for items from Cambodia, over 80% for items from Malaysia, over 70% for items from Thailand, and over 270% for items from Vietnam.

Commerce has now invited interested parties to submit comments on the scope of these investigations, with such comments currently due by June 3, 2024.  Commerce has also requested that certain exporters and producers submit information with respect to the quantity and value of their recent exports to the United States.  The current deadline for these submissions is June 4, 2024.

Next Steps

Baker & McKenzie LLP advises clients across the world on complex, international trade issues.  If you are interested in participating in or need assistance with any of the above-cited proceedings, we stand ready to assist.  Please reach out to Christine Streatfeild, Justin Becker, Elizabeth Mullin or the Baker McKenzie partner with whom you usually work for more information.


Christine Streatfeild is a Partner in the Washington DC Office and on the Steering Committee for the North America Trade Secrets Practice. She focuses on trade remedies and unfair competition cases, including forced labor investigations, antidumping and countervailing duty cases, safeguard measures, duties imposed for national security purposes (Section 232 duties), and Section 337 intellectual property and trade secrets disputes. She appears before the US International Trade Commission (ITC), US Department of Commerce (DOC), and in state and federal courts. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Christine served as the acting deputy director of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and in the Environment and Natural Resources division of the Office of the United States Trade Representative. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the Krieger School, Johns Hopkins University, where she taught Global Trade, Policy and Competition. She is also on the 2021 USMCA Dispute Settlement Panels Roster (on behalf of the United States), a position she has held since 2019 (under the NAFTA). Christine focuses her practice on matters related to trade regulatory and intellectual property matters, including economic injury and damages, import duty compliance, and unfair competition allegations.


Justin Becker is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Trade Secrets practice, based in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the Firm, Justin worked at another international law firm in their Global Arbitration, Trade and Advocacy group. Justin advises clients in an array of anti-dumping and countervailing duty issues, including investigations and reviews before the Department of Commerce (DOC), the International Trade Commission (ITC), and Section 301 and Section 232 investigations before relevant US agencies and offices in the Executive branch. He has appeared before the US Court of International Trade, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and has argued before a Chapter 19 NAFTA panel. Justin is also on the 2024 USMCA Dispute Settlement Panels Roster (on behalf of the United States).


Elizabeth Mullin is an associate in the North America Intellectual Property & Technology practice group in New York. She focuses on intellectual property litigation and brand enforcement. While in law school, she received the Whitney North Seymour Medal, which is awarded to students who show the greatest promise of becoming distinguished trial advocates. Elizabeth focuses her practice on copyright, trademark, and licensing disputes as well as brand protection and enforcement, with a focus on representing clients in the media, entertainment, technology, luxury, and fashion industries.