Seeking to resolve a dispute in the solar industry, the White House plans to remove some tariffs on solar imports to ensure stable supply while invoking the Defense Production Act to boost domestic manufacturing of solar parts.
“This will put some wind in the sails of construction projects across the country,” a senior administration official said Monday. “We will grow and we are not playing for second place here. »
The two-year tariff waiver is intended to allay concerns among utilities and others that a Commerce Department investigation could result in new import duties on solar parts from Cambodia, Thailand, from Vietnam and Malaysia.
That investigation was spurred by California-based Auxin Solar Inc., a small solar panel maker, which accused Chinese companies of dodging tariffs by routing operations through those four countries. The Commerce Department had said the investigation could lead to retroactive levies on imports from those countries, which are major suppliers to the U.S. solar industry.
Auxin general manager Mamun Rashid blasted the decision. “President Biden is significantly interfering with Commerce’s quasi-judicial process,” he said.
“By taking this unprecedented – and potentially illegal – step, he has opened the door to special interests funded by China to thwart the fair application of US trade law,” Rashid said in a statement.
The senior administration official said the president was acting under his emergency authority under the Tariff Act to waive the levies, and said the Commerce Department’s investigation would continue.
Trade groups representing utilities and renewable energy developers applauded the news and said it would go a long way in addressing threats to their projects.
Companies that install solar projects, such as Sunrun Inc.
and Sunnova Energy International Inc.
rose around 15% in early trading, while SunPower Corp.
and Enphase Energy Inc.
increased by about 8%.
NextEra Energy Shares Inc.,
a utility and one of the largest renewable energy companies in the world, added about 3%. Monday’s advance pared some of the sector’s recent losses.
Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, applauded the decision.
“While the Commerce Department’s investigation will continue as required by law and we remain confident that a review of the facts will result in a negative determination, the President’s action is a much-needed reprieve to this crushing investigation. industry,” she said. in a report. “During the two-year tariff suspension window, the U.S. solar industry can return to rapid deployment while the Defense Production Act helps expand U.S. solar manufacturing. »
—Amrith Ramkumar contributed to this article.
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8