Republicans Criticize President Biden’s Move to Sabotage Trade Investigation into Chinese Solar Manufacturers
WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today applauded House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) and House Republican Leadership on their two letters to President Biden calling out the President’s unprecedented action to interfere and sabotage the independent U.S. Department of Commerce investigation into whether Chinese solar manufacturers are circumventing anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) through four southeast Asian nations.
Leader McCarthy’s letter requests that the President withdraw his proclamation as the President’s maneuver interfered with an independent investigation and fails to consider the threat to U.S. national security and the risk to U.S. energy security. The President’s move came after meeting in secret with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) — a trade association that is funded by, and has as members, the same Chinese companies currently under investigation.
Last month, a scathing report by The American Prospect exposed SEIA as a front for Chinese solar manufacturers. Additionally, the Department of Commerce identified three Chinese solar manufacturers linked to forced labor that are members of SEIA in the Department’s anticircumvention investigation. The Department of Commerce is requiring the following SEIA members to respond: Jinko Solar in Malaysia, Trina Solar in Thailand, and Vina Solar — owned by SEIA member LONGi — in Vietnam.
“Duties on Chinese solar panels were established based on the CCP heavily subsidizing the industry and considering China’s long history of unfair and unethical labor practices, including documented use of forced labor. Tariffs established under President Trump and continued under your Administration have been an appropriate response to the abhorrent labor practices, lack of environmental protections, and market manipulation that led to Chinese control of approximately 80% of the solar panels utilized in the U.S. Removing these restrictions will further disadvantage U.S. manufacturers, dissuade investment in America, and continue Chinese domination of the renewable energy market.” the lawmakers wrote. “With American energy prices on the rise and global energy security at risk, your decision to intervene on behalf of the CCP is shocking and irresponsible. As supporters of an all-of-the above energy strategy, we cannot sit idly by as you decimate the future prospects for U.S. solar manufacturing in favor of giving China a free pass to undercut American companies with slave labor. We request that you reverse course and allow Commerce to conduct a legitimate investigation, and we look forward to your timely response.”
Representatives Bob Latta (R-OH-05) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) led members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a letter criticizing the President’s move as “amnesty for China to violate our trade laws…and sends a clear message to our foreign adversaries that our trade enforcement laws will not be upheld by your administration.” Their letter continued, “[w]aiving tariffs on Chinese solar components will make it more difficult to manufacture solar panels in the United States.”
“Candidate Biden promised 10 million clean energy jobs including solar manufacturing,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “That promise was, we now see, not true. Secretary Blinken designated China’s Uyghur atrocities as ‘genocide.’ Leader McCarthy’s position on trade and tariffs on China is exactly right and necessary. The President’s decision to favor Chinese subsidized, forced labor solar companies harms America’s workers and producers, as well as our economic security and energy independence.”