The Turn to Safeguard Measures in the Solar Trade War

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The growing energy security and climate change concerns have created a huge demand and global market for renewable energy technologies such as solar panels. The race to capture a share of this lucrative global market and other political economy considerations have inspired a trade war. Much of this war has been fought with and against green industrial policy measures such as subsidies tied to local content requirements (LCRs) and trade remedy instruments such as antidumping and countervailing duties. Safeguard measures are the latest additions to the armoury of trade defence measures in this burgeoning trade war. This article examines the dynamics behind and the implications of the turn to renewable energy safeguards for the global effort to accelerate the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies in light of the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) Panel report on US – Safeguard Measure on PV Products. The article makes three interrelated arguments. First, the WTO jurisprudence on renewable energy support measures and rapidly evolving global value chains in renewable energy technologies helped spur the turn to safeguard measures (SGMs). Second, the seal of approval from the Panel will drive interest in the use of renewable energy safeguards. Third, the increased and unfettered use of safeguard measures is detrimental to the transition towards sustainable energy sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803–830
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of World Trade
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands.


  • Safeguards
  • Solar Panels: Renewable Energy
  • Trade War
  • DS562
  • Trade and Environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law
  • Political Science and International Relations


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