Biden Seeks to Boost Solar Panel Imports By Exempting Tariffs, Invoking Defense Act

by | Oct 21, 2022 | Clean Energy | 0 comments

In an effort to provide more stability to clean energy projects despite an ongoing Commerce Department probe investigating whether or not Chinese companies are evading U.S. penalties, President Biden has made two major moves recently.

First, he announced a 24-month tariff on solar panels produced in three Southeast Asian nations that are part of the probe, and eliminated the possibility of retroactive tariffs. According to Reuters, “Biden’s action would allay companies‘ concerns about having to hold billions of dollars in reserves to pay potential tariffs, one source familiar with the White House’s plans said.”

He followed this by declaring plans to enact the Defense Protection Act for solar panel parts, which would essentially mark these products as essential to national defense and thus give them preferential performance of contracts, as well as financial incentives such as loans and grants, as well as antitrust protection..

The Commerce Department probe, which began months ago, is investigating imports of solar panels and parts from Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Vietnam are ducking American tariffs on Chinese-produced goods.

The probe has slowed the American solar industry considerably, and the threat of new tariffs has also had a chilling effect on new projects.

These moves are Biden’s attempt to stabilize this corner of the clean energy market–a major component of his plans to make U.S. electricity sources 100% carbon-free by 2035.

According to reporting by Axios, while many in the U.S. solar industry are applauding Biden’s moves, others have made the valid point that a fair application of U.S. trade law needs to remain a priority in order to prevent Chinese special interests from having undue influence in the industry.

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