President Biden on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would restore tariffs on solar panels from Chinese companies in Southeast Asia that were found to be imported to the United States in violation of trade rules.
The Senate narrowly passed the resolution earlier this month, with several leading Democrats backing it and lashing out at Biden. Last year, the president announced a two-year suspension of tariffs after importers complained that the fines threatened widespread adoption of solar energy in the United States.
“Passing this resolution is a bet on American innovation,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “It would undermine those efforts and create deep uncertainty for U.S. businesses and workers in the solar industry.”
A two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress would be required to override Biden’s veto.
The confrontation pitted Mr. Biden’s climate goals against his efforts to reduce America’s reliance on Chinese supplies of materials critical to the U.S. economy. Critics say the tariff moratorium has failed to protect American workers and solar producers who have pressured the administration to block imports of cheap goods.
Robbie Diamond, chief executive of SAFE, an advocate for reducing America’s dependence on oil, said, “We want to send the message that we want to build America’s supply chain, even if it’s difficult and complicates some deployments. must be supported by action,” he said. “If you are going to speak, you must actually walk.”
lawmakers after a U.S. Trade Court ruled in December that four Chinese companies illegally tried to circumvent U.S. tariffs on solar products shipped from China via factories in Southeast Asia. They set their sights on suspending Mr. Biden’s penalties.
Without Mr. Biden’s tariff suspension, these companies would have been subject to higher tariffs when bringing their products into the United States. Some Democrats joined Republicans in accusing the administration of violating the U.S. Trade Rules, which were enacted to protect U.S. manufacturers.
Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee said in a statement Tuesday that Mr. Biden had failed to “hold China accountable.”
“We are hurting American workers and manufacturers by not standing up to those who engage in unfair trade practices,” said Kildee.
But the administration has argued that the purchase of solar panels from China is necessary in the short term if the president’s efforts to mitigate climate change are to succeed. Most of the cells and panels that convert sunlight into electricity are made in China.
But solar importers and installers have defended the tariff moratorium, arguing it should be extended further. The White House also argues that the material is needed as companies grapple with making solar panels after Mr. Biden passed anti-inflation legislation. The Act gives companies $37 billion in incentives to produce solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and vital minerals. America.
“This move reaffirms the administration’s commitment to business certainty in the clean energy sector and encourages businesses to create jobs, build domestic manufacturing capacity, and build domestic manufacturing capacity,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president of Solar Energy. “It’s a signal to continue investing in American society.” The industry association said in a statement:
Anna Swanson contributed to the report.