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Latta, Rodgers Urge POTUS Reverse Course on Solar Tariff Exemptions

Washington, June 15, 2022 | Claire Hurley (202-225-6405)
Tags: Energy

Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) and Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy Rodgers (R-WA5) led a letter with their House colleagues to President Biden to call for a reversal of his recent tariff exemption for solar panels from certain Southeast Asian countries. The tariff exemptions will increase U.S. dependency on Chinese supply chains and punish domestic manufacturers for abiding by U.S. trade rules and regulations.    

“The Biden Administration continues to put American manufacturers last, with the latest example being their decision last week to exempt solar panels and components manufactured in Southeast Asia from tariffs,” said Latta. “This decision gives a pass to China, which uses slave labor and is currently under investigation by the Department of Commerce for circumventing American trade laws. It directly penalizes American workers, our domestic solar manufacturing industry, and increases the United States' dependency on foreign nations for our energy needs. We must flip the switch on North American energy production instead of pursuing shortcuts to meet arbitrary environmental goals. The President should reverse course and allow Commerce’s investigation to proceed.”

“President Biden is undermining the ongoing investigation by the Department of Commerce into allegations that Chinese solar companies are circumventing lawfully imposed trade penalties on Chinese solar panels. The Biden administration’s announcement amounts to a two-year amnesty for the Chinese Communist Party for any violations of our trade laws relating to solar panel imports. This action will help China, and harm American solar panel manufacturers and American workers,” said Rodgers. “The Biden Administration’s expansive use of emergency authorities under the Defense Production Act is less about strengthening national security and more about subsidizing an anti-American energy resource agenda, that will undermine the affordable, reliable energy we need for a secure future. America needs to flip the switch on American energy and secure our energy resources. Rather than emboldening China and shutting down American resources, President Biden should be prioritizing America’s vast energy and critical mineral resources to lower prices and secure our supply chains.”

The full letter can be found here.

Dear President Biden:

Last week, you announced new executive actions that will allow solar components from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to be imported into the United States duty-free for two years, regardless of whether they contain Chinese-produced parts that are subject to U.S. tariffs.  Your unprecedented action undermines an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to determine whether Chinese solar cells and modules are circumventing antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) through these Southeast Asian nations.  The DOC investigation, which began on March 28, 2022, must reach its conclusion uninterrupted and without political interference.

Your decision to provide amnesty for China to violate our trade laws penalizes American workers and our domestic solar manufacturing industry, which is harmed by China’s non-market subsidization of the solar supply chain, intellectual property theft, inhumane forced labor practices, and environmental abuses.

Regardless of the outcome of the DOC investigation, the decision to waive tariffs sends a clear message to our foreign adversaries that our trade enforcement laws will not be upheld by your Administration.

American solar manufacturers are developing new technologies and supporting high-quality jobs that help achieve our clean energy goals.  Additionally, compared to the products manufactured overseas, these domestic manufacturers produce solar panels that provide a high level of reliability and resiliency from cyber-attacks.  Waiving tariffs on Chinese solar components will make it more difficult to manufacture solar panels in the United States.  American companies serve as a bulwark against the United States becoming completely reliant on foreign nations for our energy needs.

Unfortunately, your actions fail to provide workable solutions that would reduce our dependence on China for critical minerals and components used in the solar supply chain.  As with other actions taken by your Administration, the goal appears to be to pursue the most politically expedient options that would accomplish a radical environmental agenda.  Ultimately, this rush-to-green is coming at the expense of the domestic solar industry, American workers, and our energy independence.

We urge you to reverse your decision to waive tariffs on solar panels that may be manufactured with Chinese components, and ensure the DOC investigation, which is critical to America’s solar future, is completed without prejudice or political influence.


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