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U.S. House To Vote To Repeal Biden’s Solar Panel Tariff Waivers

The U.S. House of Representatives, led by Republicans, is set to vote later on Friday on legislation to repeal the Biden Administration’s two-year pause on tariffs of imports from several Southeast Asian solar panel producers.

President Biden announced in June 2022 a two-year pause in import tariffs on solar panels manufactured in Southeast Asia in an attempt to kickstart the American solar industry supply chain. The tariff exemption for solar panels imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam came after the Department of Commerce (DOC) opened an investigation into whether U.S. imports of panels completed in those four Southeast Asian countries—using parts and components from China—are circumventing the antidumping duty and countervailing duty orders on solar cells and modules from China. 

However, last week, a U.S. House of Representatives committee voted in favor of restoring the tariffs on the solar panels, with proponents arguing that tariffs on those products would help U.S. solar component manufacturers who have said they cannot compete with cheaper imported products.    

The repeal of the solar tariff waivers, part of the Congressional Review Act (CRA), could easily pass in the Republican-controlled House, but it needs to also pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate to become law.

At any rate, President Joe Biden is expected to veto such a bipartisan resolution to overturn his policy.

The solar installation industry in the U.S. says that tariffs would impact project timelines and eliminate jobs.  

Commenting on the House Committee’s vote last week, Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said, “The United States currently lacks the capacity to produce solar panels and cells in adequate volumes to meet domestic demand. The two-year duty moratorium allows planned solar installations to move forward while we scale domestic manufacturing in the near-term.”

“Analysis shows that forcing American companies to pay $1 billion in retroactive duties would eliminate 30,000 good-paying jobs, including 4,000 manufacturing jobs.” 

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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