U.S. Senate also votes to reinstate punitive tariffs
Post date: 04/05/2023 - 11:25
Following the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday (May 3) also voted to reinstate punitive tariffs on solar modules from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The proposal, which passed by a vote of 56 to 41, was also approved by nine senators from the ruling Democratic Party. The opposition Republicans do not hold a majority in the Senate with 49 of 100 seats (Democrats: 48; Independents: 3).
President Joe Biden had suspended the tariffs for 24 months in June last year. It is considered certain that he will stick to this and veto the decision of both chambers of Congress. To override this in turn, the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate is not strong enough.
The tariffs on solar imports, most recently extended by Biden's predecessor Donald Trump and mainly directed against China, would have expired in February 2022, but were extended again by Biden – with a doubling of the quota exempted from the tariffs to five gigawatts. Biden’s subsequent two-year moratorium on imports from the four Southeast Asian countries, most of whose production capacity is owned by Chinese companies, however, had been welcomed by the vast majority of the U.S. solar industry. Imports from the four countries cover about 80 percent of U.S. demand, and without them, expanding domestic solar power production would be virtually impossible.
Now again, the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found harsh words against the bill to reinstate the tariffs. Members of Congress »voted to pull the rug out from businesses that are investing billions of dollars and employing thousands of people,« according to a statement from the association, which urged President Biden to veto the bill. A group of nine Senate members had also sharply protested the »misguided resolution« in an open letter ahead of the Senate vote, urging their colleagues to »make no mistake.«