Chinese solar panel makers face dilemma as US plugs trade loophole in Southeast Asia

Mounting uncertainties are casting a shadow over the future of Chinese solar panel manufacturers in Southeast Asia, with many agonising over staying or leaving given the United States is moving to block a well-trodden tariff workaround.

Many firms have halted production in the name of “facility upgrades” or “maintenance”, or furloughed workers after the US Department of Commerce opened anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam in May.

The US made the move after domestic solar companies alleged that China has been trying to circumvent tariffs by shifting manufacturing to Southeast Asian nations.

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