(Reuters) - SunPower Corp on Tuesday said some of the solar cells and panels it produces overseas will be excluded from the Trump administration's 30 percent import tariffs, sending the company's shares up 15 percent.
SunPower is based in San Jose, California but produces most of its solar products in Mexico and the Philippines. The company has publicly lobbied for its products to be exempt from the tariffs, arguing the funds it was spending on duties were being diverted from investments in American jobs in research and development and domestic manufacturing.
The exemption covers SunPower's premium, high-efficiency interdigitated back contact (IBC) cells and modules, which the company argued stood apart from the cheap, commoditized imports that dominate the market and were the target of the tariffs.
"With today's decision that SunPower's highly differentiated IBC cells and modules are excluded from tariffs, we are able to turn the page," SunPower Chief Executive Tom Werner said in a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump in January announced a 30-percent tariff on all imported solar panels, an opening salvo in an escalating global trade dispute he said was aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers and other businesses rebound from years of decline. Much of the U.S. solar industry protested the move, saying it would chill one of America's fastest-growing sectors.
SunPower, which earlier this year agreed to buy a U.S. solar manufacturing facility in Oregon from SolarWorld Americas to expand production in its home market, said the deal would close before the end of this quarter.
SunPower said the decision by the U.S. Trade Representative to exempt some of its products from tariffs would be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.
SunPower shares were up $1.01, or 15 percent, at $7.59 on the Nasdaq. SunPower is majority owned by France's Total SA .
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Bill Berkrot)