February 1, 2023

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Biden to Pause New Solar Tariffs as White House Aims to Boost Adoption

2 min read

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday announced a two-year pause on imposing any new tariffs on the solar industry, a decision that follows an outcry from importers who have complained the levies are threatening broader adoption of solar energy in the United States.

The move is a victory for domestic solar installers, who said the tariffs would put at risk the Biden administration’s goal of significantly cutting carbon emissions by the end of the decade by reducing the flow of products into the United States. But it goes against the wishes of some American solar manufacturers and their defenders, who have been pushing the administration to erect tougher barriers on cheap imports to help revive the domestic industry.

It was the latest example of President Biden’s being caught between competing impulses when it comes to trying to steer the United States away from planet-warming fossil fuels, as he has pledged to do. By limiting tariffs, Mr. Biden will ensure a sufficient and cheap supply of solar panels at a time of high inflation and attempt to put stalled solar projects back on track. But the decision will postpone other White House efforts that might have punished Chinese companies for trade violations and lessened Beijing’s role in global supply chains.

To counteract complaints by the domestic solar industry, the administration said that Mr. Biden would attempt to speed U.S. manufacturing of solar components, including by invoking the authorities of the Defense Production Act, which gives the president expanded powers and funding to direct the activities of private businesses.

The prospect of additional tariffs stemmed from an ongoing investigation by the Commerce Department, which is looking into whether Chinese solar firms — which are already subject to tariffs — tried to get around those levies by moving their operations out of China and into Southeast Asia.

Auxin Solar, a small manufacturer of solar panels based in California, had…

Ana Swanson, David Gelles and Jim Tankersley

2022-06-06 18:34:16

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