WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday is ready to announce a two-year pause on imposing any latest tariffs on the solar industry, following an outcry from importers who’ve complained the levies are threatening broader adoption of solar energy in america.
The choice is a victory for domestic solar installers, who said the tariffs would put in danger the Biden administration’s goal of significantly cutting carbon emissions by the top of the last decade. But it’ll go against the desires of American manufacturers and labor unions, which have been pushing the administration to erect tougher barriers on low cost imports to assist revive the domestic solar industry.
To counteract those complaints, the administration also plans to announce policies to assist support the domestic solar industry, in keeping with people conversant in the plans, who declined to talk publicly ahead of the White House’s official announcement. Two people conversant in the discussions said those efforts would involve using the authorities of the Defense Production Act, which provides the president expanded powers and funding to direct the activities of personal businesses.
The Commerce Department had been considering whether to impose the tariffs as a part of a trade case that accused Chinese solar corporations of attempting to get around existing levies by moving their operations out of China and into other countries. In recent times, major Chinese solar producers have arrange large operations in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.
If the Commerce Department determined that the factories had been arrange to avoid U.S. tariffs, the administration could have retroactively imposed tariffs on their shipments to america.
American solar corporations have said that the prospect of more — and retroactive — tariffs was already having a chilling effect on imports. Groups similar to the Solar Energy Industries Association have been lobbying the White House against the tariffs and on Monday welcomed news that the administration would pause any latest levies.
“Today’s actions protect existing solar jobs, will result in increased employment within the solar industry and foster a strong solar manufacturing base here at home,” Abigail Ross Hopper, president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in an emailed statement.
“Throughout the two-year tariff suspension window,” she said, “the U.S. solar industry can return to rapid deployment while the Defense Production Act helps grow American solar manufacturing.”
Jim Tankersley contributed reporting.