Yesterday, President Joe Biden decided not to support a suggestion from Congress that would have made solar panels imported from Southeast Asia more expensive. This suggestion was part of an ongoing argument about whether the U.S. should penalize China for finding a way around U.S. rules that try to limit the import of more affordable solar panels from Asia. The resolution was proposed as a way to counteract what U.S. lawmakers from both parties claim to be unfair competition from China, which currently dominates the global market for manufacturing solar panels.
U.S. manufacturers claim that China has relocated operations to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia to circumvent U.S. anti-dumping rules.
However, President Biden has decided to maintain a two-year suspension of these tariffs until at least June 2024. He argues that this delay is necessary to ensure a steady supply of solar panels to support the U.S.'s transition to renewable energy. Biden has emphasized that the U.S. is working to increase domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity, but acknowledges that this transition will not happen immediately.
The potential reintroduction of tariffs had caused uncertainty in the solar industry, leading to delays and cancellations of solar projects in the U.S. By vetoing the resolution, Biden aims to prevent such disruptions and keep the U.S. on track to meet its goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. The recent decision made by President Biden guarantees that there won't be any extra charges on solar panels brought in from other countries until at least June 2024. However, after this period, these extra charges might come back, which could lead to a rise in the price of solar panels. As a result, a sense of urgency has sparked among many as they are now eager to get solar panels installed before the current pricing benefits could potentially end when the suspension expires.
The decision has been met with approval from the U.S. solar industry, which relies heavily on imported solar panels. The Solar Energy Industries Association stated that the proposed tariffs could have threatened up to 30,000 American jobs and hindered the deployment of clean, reliable energy.
However, the decision has also been criticized by those who believe that the U.S. should take a firmer stance against China's alleged trade violations. Some lawmakers argue that the tariff suspension allows Chinese companies to circumvent U.S. trade laws and compete unfairly against American manufacturers.
In summary, Biden's veto is part of a larger debate on how to balance the U.S.'s goals for renewable energy and domestic manufacturing with its stance on fair trade and competition.