As part of its push to ramp up green energy initiatives in the United States, President Joe Biden’s administration recently announced a pause on tariffs for solar panels manufactured in four southeast Asian countries that the U.S. Department of Commerce believes are actually made in China or funded by Chinese companies.
Top officials and experts believe that the countries, which included Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia, had been used by China to build the solar panels in order to evade U.S. tariffs, as Bloomberg reported earlier this year.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rob Portman (R-OH) expressed their displeasure with the tariff relief, which they say directly benefits communist China.
The moratorium is set to last for a period of two years, Reuters reported.
The senators penned a letter to the president in which they laid out a variety of reasons why they think relieving the tariffs was an extremely bad idea.
Senator Rubio and @senrobportman sent a letter to President Biden regarding his decision to impose a two-year tariff moratorium on imported solar panels.
Read more below:https://t.co/fHkpARoGCw
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) June 22, 2022
“Already the United States is over-reliant on China for solar power. Currently, 80 percent of our solar panels come from China or Chinese companies, and this reliance is not market-based. China has used a variety of anti-free market practices, such as industrial subsidies, to come to dominate the solar sector,” the GOP senators wrote.
They added: “This is why the United States imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on unfairly traded solar panel imports from China as early as 2012. It is also why the Department of Commerce is actively investigating circumvention of those AD/CVD orders by solar panel producers and exporters in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.”
“The unprecedented and sweeping tariff moratorium prioritizes foreign solar panels over those made in the United States. We cannot afford to trade dependence on Russian energy for that of Chinese solar panels. It is counter to the national interest to rely on our adversaries for our energy needs.”
Reuters also reported that President Biden will invoke the Defense Production Act “to drive U.S. manufacturing of solar panels and other clean energy technologies in the future, with the support of loans and grants.”
“During the two-year tariff suspension window, the U.S. solar industry can return to rapid deployment while the Defense Production Act helps grow American solar manufacturing,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Critics, citing studies, argue that easing or deleting tariffs on Chinese goods comes at the expense of American jobs, which is especially dangerous in today’s shaky economy.