House votes to end solar panel tariff holds on Southeast Asian nations

April 28 (UPI) -- The Republican-led House on Friday voted to lift President Joe Biden's two-year suspension on placing new tariffs on solar equipment from four South Asia businesses believed to be working with China.

The 221-202 vote saw eight Republicans vote against the resolution while 12 Democrats joined the majority of the GOP in voting for it.


Biden declared the 24-month tariff exemption for solar panel products from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam as part of the Defense Production Act he signed in June. It allowed the nations to avoid the duty imposed by former President Donald Trump as they faced a Commerce Department probe into whether they sidestepped U.S. tariffs on imports of solar equipment from China.

The Department in December issued preliminary findings that determined the actions of the companies did indeed amount to efforts to get around the sanctions with a final ruling due before the end of the year.

Supporters of the bill said lifting the pause was necessary to impose new duties to take the companies to task for the alleged misdeeds.

"This is about protecting American workers, American jobs and holding China accountable," Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., chair of the House Ways and Means Committee said.


Climate advocates, a key Biden constituency, want to keep the block on tariffs in place, saying it was more important to keep building the country's clean infrastructure so the country can meet its lofty goal of cutting greenhouse gases.

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the SolarEnergy Industries Association, called the vote a "political charade" and urged the Democrat-held Senate to reject the measure.

"Today the House of Representatives failed America's 255,000 solar workers and put the near-term impact of the Inflation Reduction Act at risk," she said in a statement. "The legislation will impose $1 billion in retroactive tariffs and cause 30,000 Americans to lose their jobs this year."

The Biden administration earlier this week released a statement saying that the president would veto the resolution if it did pass the Senate, where some Democrats have voiced support for it. A statement from the Office of Management and Budget said the administration "strongly opposed" the resolution and the tariff hold is needed to provide a bridge to until the U.S. solar industry ramps up more.

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