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Biden is waiving tariffs for solar modules and wants to boost production

WASHINGTON — calls out President Joe Biden the Defense Production Act to increase US production of solar panels while a two-year tariff exemption for panels from Southeast Asia is declared. In doing so, he is attempting to launch an industry vital to his goals in fighting climate change say proponents was disrupted by a federal investigation.

The White House announced Monday that the moves will be implemented through executive branch action and presidential proclamations. They follow months of complaints from industry groups arguing that the solar sector is being held back by supply chain issues following an ongoing Commerce Department investigation into possible trade violations Chinese products.

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The Commerce Department announced in March that it was scrutinizing imports of solar panels from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia over concerns that products from those countries are circumventing US anti-dumping rules restricting imports from China.

White House officials said Biden’s actions are aimed at boosting domestic production of solar panel parts, construction plumbing materials, high-efficiency heat pumps and other components like cells used for clean-energy fuels. They called the suspension of tariffs on imports from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia a stopgap measure while other efforts boost domestic solar power production — even as the government remains supportive of US trade laws and Commerce Department investigations.

News that the Biden administration plans to ease solar tariffs sent Wall Street futures higher early Monday.

The Commerce Department has defended its investigation. Secretary of State Gina Raimondo told a Senate committee in May that the solar survey follows a statutory process that does not allow for consideration of climate change, supply chains or other factors.

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Still, clean energy leaders have since warned that the probe – which could lead to retroactive tariffs of up to 240% – would seriously handicap the U.S. solar industry, leading to thousands of layoffs and jeopardizing up to 80% of planned solar projects the country. That could endanger one of Biden’s top clean energy Targets and runs counter to his Democratic government’s push for renewable energies such as wind and solar power.

“The President’s announcement will rejuvenate solar construction and domestic manufacturing by restoring the predictability and business certainty disrupted by the Commerce Department’s flawed investigation,” said Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association and a former official of the Obama administration issued a statement Monday.

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Others hit similar tones. Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, praised Biden’s “prudent approach to addressing the current crisis of the paralyzed solar supply chain.”

“Today’s actions will protect existing solar jobs, will lead to more employment in the solar industry and foster a solid solar manufacturing base here at home,” Ross Hopper said in a statement.

The use of executive action is as seen in the Biden administration’s clean energy tax cuts and other key proposals designed to boost domestic green energy production stalled in Congress.

The Defense Production Act lets the federal government direct manufacturing production for national defense and has become a tool more commonly used by presidents in recent months. President Donald Trump’s administration used it produce medical devices and consumables in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden invoked his authority to prioritize last month Increasing the nation’s supply of baby food midst a domestic shortage caused by the safety-related closure of the country’s largest formula factory.

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Jean Su, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice Program, said in a statement that Biden’s announcement “can provide a critical boost to the necessary transition to solar energy.”

“We hope this application of the Defense Production Law will be a turning point for the president, who must use all his executive powers to confront the climate emergency head-on,” Su said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/06/biden-waives-solar-panel-tariffs-seeks-to-boost-production/ Biden is waiving tariffs for solar modules and wants to boost production

Sarah Y. Kim

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