EXCLUSIVE Biden to use executive action to boost solar projects hit by probe sources


U.S. President Joe Biden walks across the South Lawn after disembarking from Marine One as he returns from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with the first lady at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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WASHINGTON, June 5 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will use executive action on Monday to help fill a solar panel supply shortfall and revive stalled U.S. projects after an investigation froze imports from major foreign suppliers, sources familiar with the matter said.

The moves come amid concerns about the impact of the Commerce Department’s months-long investigation into whether solar panel imports from four Southeast Asian countries are circumventing customs duties on products made in China.

Biden will also invoke the Defense Production Act to boost U.S. manufacturing of solar panels and other clean technologies in the future, with the support of loans and grants, the sources added.

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“There’s going to be this timeout on the… fee collection, and that’s at the heart of what’s going to save all of these solar projects and ensure they go ahead,” a source close to the government said. White The house plans.

State governors, lawmakers, industry officials and environmentalists have expressed concern over the investigation, which could result in retroactive tariffs of up to 250%.

It essentially halted imports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, which account for more than half of US solar panel supplies and 80% of imports.

The investigation has had a chilling effect on the industry, say clean energy groups, some of which have called on Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to dismiss it, despite saying she had no no discretion to influence it.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden’s action would bring certainty to the U.S. solar market and allay corporate concerns about needing to hold billions of dollars in reserves to pay any tariffs.

The investigation, announced at the end of March, could take 150 days or more.

The issue has created a unique dilemma for the White House, which wants to show American leadership on climate change, in part by encouraging the use of renewable energy, while respecting and keeping its distance from investigative procedures.

Using executive action and invoking the DPA, which gives presidents some authority over national industries, allows Biden to take advantage of the tools at his disposal without intervening in the tariff investigation.

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Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Tom Hogue

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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