Nearly 300 US citizens laid off from the solar power industry as as a result of a surge of imports are eligible for federal trade-adjustment assistance.
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Sept. 22 ruled that the import surge has seriously injured the domestic solar cell and panel manufacturing industry.
The Labor Department’s determination was that a surge of imports helped cause layoffs.
This determination resulted from an investigation over recent months by the Department’s Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance.
The decision means that many of the impacted employees may be eligible to tap federal assistance with job placement; expenses for job searches, relocation and retraining; income support during full-time retraining; and a tax credit on health-insurance premiums.
US law dictates that the Labor Department may certify workers adversely impacted by imports for trade-adjustment assistance only if it finds that an increase in competing imports “contributed importantly” to the decline in sales or production of a firm and to the cause for worker layoffs.
Nearly 30 US solar-panel producers ceased manufacturing operations from 2012 to 2016, the period of investigation in the case, according to ITC figures.
During this period, global imports increased nearly five-fold. This surge was led by China, whose imports rose by more than 700 percent, according to ITC data.
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