Biden renews Trump tariffs on imported solar panels for 4 years

Economy News


U.S. President Joe Biden renewed Trump-era tariffs on imported solar panels for four years that would expire this weekend as his administration tries to boost U.S. clean energy infrastructure manufacturing.

But his administration said Friday it would also continue to exempt the double-sided panels commonly used in large projects from levies, and doubled the amount of solar cells, which make up solar panels, that could be imported before tariffs were applied. gigawatt to 5GW’s generating capacity, which provides some relief to utilities and power producers who are concerned about panel costs.

Opponents of the tariffs have argued that slamming levies on imported solar panels is undermining Biden’s goal of making the U.S. power grid carbon-free by 2035. Supporters said restricting imports from Asia was essential if the US ever wanted to significantly increase its domestic production of solar power equipment.

Senior administration officials said the tariffs would help U.S. manufacturers build a North American solar power supply chain. Officials said the U.S. Trade Representative’s office would look into agreements with Mexico and Canada that would exclude them from the tariff regime.

In 2018, former President Donald Trump imposed emergency “protection” rates of 30 percent on imports of solar products, which fell to 15 percent over four years, in an effort to protect U.S. jobs. Late last year, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. independent independent advisory body, recommended a four-year tariff extension with annual reductions of 0.25 percent per year to “prevent or correct serious injuries to U.S. industry.” “.

The U.S. imported 19.3-peak gigawatt solar panels in 2020, up from 15.3 GW in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The leading exporter to the US was Vietnam, followed by Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand.

According to the EIA, the price of solar panels has fallen in the decade since 2010, with the average value of shipments falling from $ 1.96 per watt in 2010 to $ 0.38 per watt in 2020. The EIA says lower supply chain costs and an oversupply of modules are “largely responsible” for the declining value.

However, some analysts have scaled down their forecasts for future U.S. solar power plants as cost inflation and stockpiling accumulate across the industry this year.

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In 2019, U.S.-manufactured solar modules achieved a record market share of 19.8 percent, the highest figure in a decade, according to the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a lobby group campaigning for manufacturing in the U.S.

The CPA called the White House decision “a gift to Beijing”. Zach Mottl, its chairman, said the tariff extension was “in name only” because it excluded so-called bifacial panels.

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The move would “ensure that a tsunami of cheap Chinese solar products, made with forced labor and manufactured by dirty coal-fired power plants, floods the U.S.,” Mottl said.

The decision received mixed reactions from groups representing the US solar industry. Abigail Ross Hopper, chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said the administration had reached a “balanced” solution.

Some trade restrictions remain in force on imports of solar products from China. Last summer, the Biden administration took punitive action against Chinese manufacturers of solar products in a crackdown on the internment of Uyghurs and Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.

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