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On Tuesday, a bipartisan group led by Senator Marco Rubio and joined by three Senate Democrats called for President Biden to increase tariffs on imported Chinese solar panel components.
Senators Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock, Sherrod Brown, and Rubio are calling for higher taxes on modules, cells, and wafers used in solar panel production, citing concerns over Chinese products undermining the American solar industry.
The senators referenced a 2023 study showing that Chinese-made solar panels cost as low as 15 cents per watt, significantly less than those made in the US. They also expressed concern about China’s growing capacity to meet global demand for solar panels, labeling it an existential threat to US solar industry and energy security.
In contrast to this push for tariffs, President Biden had previously paused solar import tariffs for two years. This pause was met with a bipartisan Congressional Review Act resolution, which Biden vetoed.
The senators’ stance, however, contrasts with that of a coalition of Democrats in the western US, where solar is a significant industry. Trade associations in these regions have argued that the industry cannot handle a tariff crackdown.