WASHINGTON (Reuters)—President Joe Biden on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have restored tariffs on Chinese solar panels sold out of Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The waivers to the four Southeast Asian countries, granted by Biden in June 2022, are due to be in place for two years. Imports from these countries make up around 80 percent of U.S. solar panel supplies. Biden said the waivers will create a “bridge” while U.S. manufacturing ramps up enough to supply the domestic projects needed to achieve goals in fighting climate change.
In a statement explaining only the third veto of his presidency, Biden said the waivers would help ensure “we have a thriving solar installation industry ready to deploy American-made solar products to homes, businesses and communities across the nation.” Biden said he does not intend to extend the waivers after their expiration.
Many congressional Democrats, however, disagree with that argument. Nine Senate Democrats voted to restore the tariffs earlier this month, with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) saying a lack of tariffs on Chinese panels forces American companies to compete with “cheap, unfairly subsidized imports.”
Domestic manufacturers have said the tariffs are needed now to compete with cheap panels made overseas.
Congress appears to lack the votes to override Biden’s veto, with two-thirds majorities needed in the House of Representatives and Senate.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Will Dunham and Tim Ahmann)
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