(Bloomberg) — The White House is preparing executive action to blunt the impact of a trade dispute that has paralyzed US renewable power projects by taking steps to boost domestic manufacturing of solar panels, according to people familiar with the matter.
President Joe Biden plans to invoke the Defense Production Act to provide support for US-made solar panels, said the people, who asked for anonymity as the details are private ahead of an announcement expected as soon as Monday morning.
Administration officials have been brainstorming for days over methods to revive clean energy projects that have been hampered by a Commerce Department investigation into tariff circumvention that’s led some exporters to halt or slow equipment sales into the US.
Read more: Tariff Fight Paralyzing US Solar Threatens American Steelmakers
Spokespeople for the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Biden’s move would come amid a Commerce Department inquiry into whether some Chinese companies are circumventing decade-old tariffs by assembling solar cells and modules in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, prompting shipments from those countries — which provide up about 80% of US panel imports — to fall.
A threat of retroactive tariffs has paralyzed parts of the US solar sector and slowed the deployment of panels — risking a key piece of Biden’s push to slash emissions from the country’s power grids.
Biden would not be taking action to dismiss the case, which is a quasi judicial proceeding meant to be apolitical, said the people.
One route to end the matter would be if Auxin Solar Inc., the small California-based panel maker that instigated the probe, decides to withdraw its petition, according to trade lawyers.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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