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Biden To Veto Congressional Efforts To Overturn Solar Tariff Waivers

U.S. President Joe Biden will veto a bipartisan resolution to overturn his policy to waive solar tariffs on four Southeast Asian nations for two years, according to an exclusive Reuters report. 

Last June, Biden waived tariffs on solar panels from Thailand, Vietnam Cambodia and Malaysia in a bid to create a "bridge" while U.S. manufacturing ramped up. 

However, last week, a U.S. House of Representatives committee voted in favor of restoring the tariffs on the solar panels, with Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., the primary sponsor of the resolution. 

The solar dispute dates back to February 2022 after Auxin Solar, a California-based solar-panel manufacturer, requested the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate if Chinese solar companies are assembling their products in the four Asian countries before shipping them to America in a bid to evade U.S. tariffs

But the White House is firmly opposed to the attempt to overturn the waivers, pointing to an increase in domestic solar production as a sign that Biden's policy has been successful.

"This legislation would sabotage U.S. enerecurity. It would undermine our momentum in creating a massive new domestic industry. It would sideline workers who are fired up to build these projects and operate them across the country," Ali Zaidi, Biden's national climate adviser, has told Reuters.

The United States is on track to grow domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity 8-fold by the end of 2024, an official has told Reuters, adding that Biden will not issue an extension on the tariff waivers because domestic manufacturing has taken off.

"Given the strong trends in the domestic solar industry, the President does not intend to extend the tariff suspension at the conclusion of the 24-month period in June 2024," the White House said in a "Statement of Administration Policy" obtained by Reuters.

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Republicans in Congress, sometimes with the support of Democrats, have frequently used the Congressional Review Act to block Biden administration regulations. Both chambers passed a resolution this Congress to eliminate a rule from the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to define the waters that fall under protection of the Clean Water Act. Biden vetoed that measure, and another about investment and the Labor Department but signed in March a resolution to block Washington, D.C., from overhauling its criminal laws. 

By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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