US trade agency urges Biden to extend Trump’s solar tariffs

US trade agency urges Biden to extend Trump’s solar tariffs

Most of panels used in US imported from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam

Most of the solar panels used in the US are imported from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. (Bangkok Post photo)
Most of the solar panels used in the US are imported from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. (Bangkok Post photo)

A US trade agency is recommending that President Joe Biden should extend Trump-era tariffs on imported solar components.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) is recommending a four-year extension of the solar tariff, with annual declines of 0.25% starting in February. The recommendation comes weeks after determining that solar imports remain a threat to US manufacturers.

Biden is expected to make a final decision before the four-year tariff is scheduled to expire in February and is under no obligation to follow the ITC’s recommendation.

The president will have to balance conflicting goals. While promoting wider use of clean energy is one of his key policy objectives, he’s also striving to boost the economy, including domestic manufacturing jobs. The tariffs benefit makers of solar components in the US, but they add costs to the companies that install imported panels.

Trump imposed the duties in 2018. Despite a slight increase in US solar manufacturing during his term, China remains the world’s biggest panel producer. Most of the panels used in the US are imported from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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