Biden waives solar panel tariffs for four countries and invokes defense law

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden waived tariffs on solar panels in four Southeast Asian nations for two years and invoked the Defense Production Act to encourage home-made solar panels. said the White House on Monday, confirming a Reuters report.

The tariff exemption applies to panels in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and will serve as a “bridge” as U.S. manufacturing increases, the White House said.

Shares of U.S. solar companies, such as SunPower Corp (SPWR.O), Enphase Energy Inc (ENPH.O) and Sunrun Inc (RUN.O), rose after Reuters reported earlier that Biden would issue a proclamation that guarantees that panels account for 80 percent of U.S. imports would not face tariffs, which could have been charged retroactively as part of a Department of Commerce investigation.

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The measure addresses concerns about the freezing of solar projects across the country and the resulting impact on the administration’s plans to combat climate change. The investigation, announced in March, is considering whether imports of solar panels from the four countries were circumventing tariffs on goods manufactured in China.

The probe had caused the largest solar trading group to reduce its installation forecast for this year and next by 46%, as developers, including NextEra Energy Inc (NEE.N), Southern Co (SO.N) warned of major project delays. Read more.

The White House said the Defense Production Act would also be used to expand the manufacture of building insulation, heat pumps, transformers and equipment for “clean electricity generated by electricity,” such as electrolyzers and batteries. fuel.

“With a stronger arsenal of clean energy, the United States can be an even stronger partner of our allies, especially in the face of the war (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement.

Manufacturing is a small part of the U.S. solar industry, with most jobs focused on project development, installation, and construction. The proposed legislation that would encourage domestic solar manufacturing is currently stalled in Congress.

Heather Zichal, executive director of the American Clean Energy Association, said Biden’s announcement “would rejuvenate the construction and manufacture of domestic solar energy by restoring predictability and business certainty.”

The Commerce Department’s investigation, launched in response to a complaint from a small solar panel supplier, Auxin, essentially halted the flow of solar panels, which account for more than half of U.S. supplies and 80 percent of imports. .

Auxin CEO Mamun Rashid criticized the White House measure for having “opened the door wide open to China-funded special interests to defeat the fair application of US trade law.”

The leading U.S. panel maker, First Solar, said the administration’s move “undermines American solar manufacturing.” Its shares fell more than 2% in the noon trade on the Nasdaq.

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Report by Jeff Mason; additional report by Nichola Groom; edited by John Stonestreet and Tomasz Janowski

Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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