The White House announced to Reuters on Monday that President Joe Biden will veto a bipartisan congressional effort to reverse his policy waiving solar panel tariffs on four Southeast Asian countries.
Critics charge the Biden administration is playing into the hands of China’s illegal trade. His own Commerce Department determined that four major Chinese solar companies were routing their products through Southeast Asia to avoid U.S. tariffs.
Last June, the Democrat canceled import taxes on solar panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Supporters described the move as a “bridge” to give U.S. manufacturers time to ramp up production.
#Chinese solar panel companies have been side-stepping tariffs via a tariff pause on solar panels enacted by the Biden Admin. With both Republicans & Democrats working across the aisle to stop this, @JoeBiden vows to veto.https://t.co/GlNUQcYCyj
— The Foreign Desk (@ForeignDeskNews) April 25, 2023
This flooding of the U.S. market with Asian solar panels did not sit well with many members of Congress. Last week a House of Representatives committee approved restoring the tariffs, thus reversing Biden’s action. The measure is expected to be voted on by the House shortly.
The White House defended the policy favoring Asian manufacturers, claiming that U.S. solar panel production has increased since Biden entered the Oval Office.
The president’s national climate adviser, Ali Zaidi, told Reuters that the bipartisan measure would “sabotage” the nation’s energy security. Eliminating the tariffs on Asian solar panels would destroy momentum created by U.S. industry.
Exactly how flooding the market with cheap solar panels is assisting American industry was not made clear.
But that’s exactly what is happening, and the Commerce Department is not enforcing U.S. trade laws with Biden’s moratorium in effect.
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) told Fox News Digital that he is a “strong supporter” of President Biden and agreed with his moves to bolster the nation’s solar panel industry. The policy allowing China to divert exports through other countries to avoid tariffs, however, is a point of contention.
As Kildee explained, “China has been found to have violated our trade laws, yet the U.S. has failed to respond, including suspending tariffs and letting their unlawful behavior go unanswered.”
He added that the White House’s misguided actions are making the nation “more reliant, not less reliant, on China for our manufacturing and clean energy needs.”
Trade organizations, including the Coalition for a Prosperous America, make the same argument. A spokesperson for the group declared that Biden’s moratorium “was a massive mistake that directly harms American manufacturing and workers.”