The White House announced on June 6 that the U.S. would lift import tariffs on solar panels for two years from Southeast Asia but not for China.
The U.S. removes tariffs on solar panel imports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to “ensure the U.S. has access to a sufficient supply of solar modules to meet electricity generation needs while domestic manufacturing scales up.”
China, the world’s largest solar panel producer, is not on the White House’s list of waiving the tariffs.
According to Bloomberg, China dominates all parts of solar panel production. It secures 66% in polysilicon, 78% in solar cells, and 72% in solar modules.
An investigation found that the Chinese regime uses forced labor in the Xinjiang region to produce solar panels. Xinjiang produces about 45% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon, a key material of solar modules.
In March, the Department of Commerce announced an investigation into whether China manufacturers circumvent tariffs on their solar panel products.
The probe followed a complaint from a U.S. solar modules producer, Auxin Solar, claiming that solar panel manufacturers from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam use China-made photovoltaic cells. The move helps Chinese solar panel manufacturers avoid U.S. import tariffs on the product.
According to Rystad’s analysis, imports from these countries accounted for 85% of U.S. solar power capacity in 2021 and 99% of solar energy imports in the first two months of 2022.
Not just tariffs on solar energy products, U.S. lawmakers are now taking action against China for its unfair trade practices by urging the Biden administration to keep tariffs on China unchanged.
As the White House considers removing some tariffs on China imports imposed by President Trump to fight inflation, a group of bipartisan Senators sent a letter to President Biden not to do so. They noted that “the tariffs are not a driver of today’s inflation.”
The Senators wrote, “Rolling back the tariffs on China would undermine the U.S. position in negotiations, expose many U.S. companies and workers to a sudden flood of imports, and signal to China that waiting out the United States is preferable to changing their non-market behavior or complying with the Phase One Agreement.”