© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Solar installers from Baker Electric place solar panels on the roof of a residential home in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California, U.S. October 14, 2016. Picture taken October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
By Nichola Groom
(Reuters) – A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday will introduce a resolution to repeal President Joe Biden’s suspension of import tariffs on solar panels from four Southeast Asian nations, according to a statement provided to Reuters.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, which allows Congress to reverse federal rules with a simple majority, is aimed at propping up domestic solar manufacturers, which have struggled to compete with cheap panels made overseas – often by Chinese companies.
“We cannot allow foreign solar manufacturers to violate trade law, especially when it comes at the expense of American workers and businesses,” Representative Dan Kildee of Michigan, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Kildee is introducing the CRA with three Republicans – Bill Posey of Florida, Garret Graves of Louisiana, and Bob Latta of Ohio, as well as two other Democrats – Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Terri Sewell of Alabama.
The CRA is a 1996 law that allows Congress to reverse federal rules with a simple majority. A CRA bill expires if it is not passed within 60 days of its introduction and prevents the federal government from issuing a rule that’s “substantially the same form” in the future.
A repeal of the policy would be a blow to the U.S. solar industry, which has argued that tariffs on panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam would freeze development of the clean energy projects needed to meet Biden’s ambitious climate change goals.
The four nations account for about 80% of U.S. panel supplies.
Responding to those concerns, Biden last year waived tariffs on solar products from the four Southeast Asian nations as the Commerce Department was considering whether those imports were circumventing duties on goods made in China and violating U.S. trade law.
Months later, Commerce issued a preliminary decision to impose new duties on some imports from those countries, but they will not kick in until June of 2024 because of the two-year waiver from Biden.
The White House has said the tariff exemption will serve as a bridge while the U.S. sector ramps up. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year, includes big incentives for domestic manufacturing…