Biden has vetoed on Tuesday a bipartisan measure that would have overturned his executive order last year, which ordered the Department of Commerce to not enforce tariffs against Chinese solar panel makers for two years.
Biden said that the legislation, which was recently passed by the House and Senate on the Democratic side of the aisle, “bets” against American innovation. Biden implemented a 24-month moratorium last year on the enforcement solar panel anticircumvention tariffs to protect U.S. businesses. The White House claimed that this would encourage investment in domestic production of solar panels.
Biden, in a Tuesday statement, said that the passage of this resolution was a bet against American innovation. It would undermine the efforts of American workers and businesses in the solar sector and cause uncertainty. “I therefore veto this resolution.”
Biden said that he “does not intend to” extend tariff suspension after the 24-month moratorium ends in June 2024.
President Biden paused for two years the imposition of tariffs on Chinese panels.
In June 2022, the president took executive action after the Commerce Department announced months earlier that it would investigate whether Chinese solar panel manufacturers were routing panels through Southeast Asia in order to avoid U.S. Tariffs. In December, the agency released its preliminary findings, which showed that four large solar companies routed their products through Cambodia and Malaysia to avoid U.S. tariffs.
The Commerce Department will release its final findings in the next month.
A bipartisan group led by Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), in response to December’s findings, introduced a resolution to overturn Biden’s January action, arguing that tariffs were needed to protect the fledgling U.S. Solar industry, which is dwarfed to China. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced companion legislation co-sponsored with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
The resolution, which uses the Congressional Review Act (a law that allows Congress revoke federal regulation), passed the House with a vote of 221-202 on April 28, and the Senate with a vote of 56-41 on May 3.
Kildee stated on Tuesday that she was disappointed by President Biden’s veto of this important piece of legislation. Failure to take action against those who use unfair trade practices harms American manufacturers and workers. We will not be able for our workers and businesses to compete in the global market unless we hold those responsible who violate U.S. Trade Laws accountable.
The Democratic legislator continued, “The President’s position and his veto today fail to hold China accountable, and harm American workers.” “Congress passed a bipartisan resolution that received strong support from both Republicans and Democrats. Congress must vote again to override the veto of today.
According to the International Energy Agency, Chinese companies have a global share of more than 80% in the solar panel industry. They control the supply chain at all stages of manufacturing. Chinese solar companies have been linked to forced labor practices in China’s Xinjiang Province.
The resolution was endorsed both by pro-tariff organizations like the Coalition for a Prosperous America, and by human rights groups such as the Uyghur Human Rights Project. The resolution was opposed by environmental groups and green energy organisations, including the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Abigail Ross Hopper said, “This action is an affirmation of the Administration’s commitment in the clean energy industry to business certainty, and a message to companies to keep creating jobs, building up domestic manufacturing capacity, and investing in American Communities,” in response to Biden veto on Tuesday.