Bipartisan Effort Begins To Reverse Biden’s ‘Unconscionable’ China Tariff Waivers
House Republicans and Democrats have joined together in an effort to reverse President Joe Biden’s tariff moratorium for suspected Chinese companies that are reportedly funneling their solar panels through other countries in an attempt to evade U.S. trade regulations.
Biden announced a 24-month tariff moratorium on solar panel imports from Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in June 2022. However, Commerce Department officials suspect that the solar panels sold by these countries are actually made in China or by Chinese companies, and are instead being routed through these other nations in an effort to evade tariffs.
The president implemented the tariff moratorium despite the fact that his Commerce Department had discovered BYD Hong Kong was rerouting its products through Cambodia, Canadian Solar and Trina through Thailand, and Vina Solar through Vietnam — specifically to evade U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar panels.
At the moment, roughly 80% of all solar panels installed in the U.S. are either made in China or by Chinese companies.
Last week, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers — including Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Garret Graves (R-LA), Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Bob Latta (R-OH) — introduced a bill to reverse Biden’s tariff moratorium. The bill would use the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress to end the moratorium, which the Biden administration finalized as a Commerce Department regulation in late 2022.
“The Communist Party of China should not be allowed to circumvent our trade laws and undercut American manufacturing,” Posey said in a statement.
“Our federal government should be getting behind American businesses and leading the effort to boost our competitiveness around the world, especially when it comes to our nation’s energy independence,” the statement continued.
Kildee also spoke out about the legislation.
“We cannot allow foreign solar manufacturers to violate trade law, especially when it comes at the expense of American workers and businesses,” the Democrat congressman said. “The Biden administration found in its own investigation that China is evading U.S. tariffs on solar imports, but has paused action on this matter, which is unacceptable.”
The bill was praised by Michael Stumo, a member of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.
“This bipartisan legislation is an important win for the rule of law, American manufacturers, and the tens of thousands of workers that they employ … it is unconscionable that President Biden undermined the independent, judicial investigation by Commerce, which has already found preliminarily that the Chinese are illegally circumventing AD/CVD duties,” Stumo said.
Biden instituted the moratorium following intense lobbying from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) — a group that has been proven to represent Chinese solar companies, some of whom have been accused of using forced labor in Xinjiang, an area known to have concentration camps operated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Meanwhile, China has consistently profited from American free trade policies, while the U.S. economy has been decimated.
According to Breitbart News, “From 2001 to 2018, U.S. free trade with China eliminated 3.7 million American jobs from the economy — 2.8 million of which were lost in American manufacturing. During that same period, at least 50,000 American manufacturing plants closed down.”
“Those massive job losses have coincided with a booming U.S.-China trade deficit,” the outlet added. “In 1985, before China entered the WTO, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled $6 billion. In 2019, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled more than $345 billion.”
Numerous studies have shown that tariffs against China would help create jobs and boost wages in the U.S., helping reverse the serious trade deficits that have caused devastation across America’s working and middle-class communities over the past two decades.
For example, a recent study from economists at the Coalition for a Prosperous America found that tariffs on nearly all foreign imports would create roughly 10 million jobs in the U.S. while boosting domestic output.