House Passes Bipartisan Bill To Repeal Biden’s China Solar Rules
The House passed a resolution Friday morning to repeal President Joe Biden’s moratorium on solar panel tariffs to several Southeast Asian nations, where Chinese firms linked to slave labor have reportedly been assembling their products to avoid U.S. tariffs.
The resolution passed 221 to 202, with the support of most Republicans and 12 Democrats, with supporters arguing in the preceding debate that the legislation was necessary both to support the U.S. solar industry while simultaneously holding China accountable for avoiding tariffs. Democratic detractors pointed to opposition from industry trade groups, arguing that the moratorium was set to run out next summer, and that it was necessary to grow the U.S. solar industry in the interim.
Biden has threatened to veto the legislation should it reach his desk. Several Democratic senators have announced support for the resolution.
The resolution would reinstate tariffs on four Southeast Asian nations — Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam — which a Commerce Department investigation found were being used by Chinese firms to avoid U.S. tariffs on their products. The four nations account for roughly 80% of U.S. solar panel inventory, according to Bloomberg.
The resolution has drawn criticism from trade groups in the solar industry, who have argued that the tariffs were necessary to help U.S. manufacturing find its legs, Bloomberg reported. The moratorium gives U.S. solar manufacturers time to establish domestic solar supply chains while ramping up production, according to supporters.
The solar industry has faced a significant crackdown under the Uyghur Forced Labor Production Act (UFLPA), which aims to penalize Chinese firms using the forced labor of Uyghur Muslims, an ethnic minority in the nation’s Xinjiang province. U.S. Customs and Border Protection impounded approximately 2,600 Chinese solar imports worth more than $800 million for violations of the UFLPA between October 2022 and January 2023.
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