Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has signed on to lobby for the Chinese solar panel manufacturer JinkoSolar Inc. as the company pushes to open a U.S. factory and lower tariffs on imported solar cells.
Orrick partner Harry Clark in Washington, who leads the firm’s international trade and compliance group, will lobby for JinkoSolar alongside senior counsel W. Clark McFadden II and firm in-house economist Gregory Hume.
The Orrick team said they are advocating for “duty free access for solar cells and aluminum panels for import into the United States,” according to a disclosure filed this week. Orrick has contracted another firm, Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas Inc., to lobby for JinkoSolar on “issues related to domestic manufacturing of solar panels and import/export of solar cells,” according to a separate disclosure filed Thursday.
For Orrick, the representation of JinkoSolar marks the firm’s first lobbying disclosures in more than a year. The firm’s last previous report of lobbying activity came in October 2016, when it disclosed Clark’s work on international trade issues for the Semiconductor Industry Association. That engagement ended in March 2017, the firm said in a lobbying report last year.
Clark and an Orrick spokesman declined to comment on the firm’s work for JinkoSolar. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Orrick’s lobbying for JinkoSolar comes as the company—one of China’s largest manufacturers—strives to open a new plant in the United States.
Last month, a week after the Trump administration unveiled tariffs of up to 30 percent on imported solar panels, JinkoSolar announced that it would be finalizing plans to construct an advanced solar manufacturing facility in the United States.
According to a CNN report, the company did not directly tie those plans to the tariffs but said it “continues to closely monitor treatment of imports of solar cells and modules under the U.S. trade laws.”
JinkoSolar has a U.S. subsidiary based in San Francisco. It has not previously lobbied in the United States, according to a review of disclosures.