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Solar Startup Asks for Break From Tariffs, Gets Slapped by Trump

April 24, 2018, by Christopher Martin


A U.S. solar startup has picked a trade fight with President Donald Trump.

1366 Technologies Inc., which spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has drawn a rebuke from the U.S. Energy Department for asking that its silicon wafer factory under construction in Asia be exempt from American tariffs. The Energy Department says the overseas facility may violate the startup’s agreement to manufacture in the U.S. as part of a $150-million federal loan guarantee for a factory in Upstate New York.

“Constructing and operating the Southeast Asia facility is likely contrary to 1366’s U.S. manufacturing commitments,” John Lucas, acting general counsel at the Energy Department wrote in a letter to the U.S. trade representative released Monday. “DOE takes this matter very seriously and is currently looking into 1366’s compliance with its DOE funding agreements.”

1366 is partly owned by Hanwha Group in South Korea.

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