Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole got straight to the point in explaining why he and other members of the House voted to overturn President Biden who tariffs on foreign solar panel manufacturers.
“The United States cannot continue to ignore China’s unfair trade practices and sacrifice American manufacturing jobs on the altar of Green New Deal policies,” he wrote in a column this week in which he outlined his reasons to reverse Biden’s executive order.
“Moreover, the president’s radical environmental agenda should not lead us to ignore the fact that the CCP relies heavily on the use of forced labor in its solar manufacturing industry, a clear human rights violation,” added the Republican congressman.
Cole said it was a House move designed to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its illegal trade subsidies.
His entire column follows:
Last week, the House of Representatives passed two critical pieces of legislation. While the more widely known bill addressed the debt ceiling, we also passed a consequential bipartisan and bicameral resolution to hold the Chinese Community Party (CCP) accountable for its illegal trade subsidies and return critical manufacturing capacity to the United States where it belongs.
In 2011, the International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce began investigating the CCP over unfair trade practices in the solar panel manufacturing industry. In 2012, both agencies concluded China was subsidizing its solar manufacturing industry to make its products cheaper and sell them at less than fair value in foreign markets, a practice called “dumping.” Because dumping undermines American manufacturers, the United States subsequently used antidumping trade laws to impose tariffs on solar cells and modules coming from China and ensure a level playing field for domestically produced solar products.
While these tariffs worked for a time, in early 2022, the Department of Commerce initiated another investigation, this time into whether the CCP was routing its subsidized solar products through Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to evade the tariffs. Yet before the Department of Commerce issued its findings, President Joe Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation waiving any tariffs on solar products coming from these countries. The president dubiously claimed electricity production would be compromised without the use of CCP-produced solar panels, despite U.S. electricity production and solar capacity being at their highest ever. Even after the Department of Commerce determined last December that the CCP was skirting American tariffs, President Biden still refused to reimpose tariffs on these countries, forcing American manufacturers to compete in the face of unfair trade practices.
The joint resolution passed in the House last week will overturn the Biden Administration’s ill-advised rule implementing Biden’s proclamation, hold the CCP accountable for its unfair trade practices and ensure the CCP cannot circumvent U.S. tariffs that have been in place for more than a decade. Additionally, this resolution will make clear the United States will not endorse the use of slave labor to further the president’s radical environmental agenda. Finally, this resolution will help restore American manufacturing capability, ensuring that supply chains for critical products – including solar cells and modules – will be brought back to the homeland, where they belong. As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains are fragile, and the United States is best served by bringing back essential manufacturing capacity.
The United States cannot continue to ignore China’s unfair trade practices and sacrifice American manufacturing jobs on the altar of Green New Deal policies. Indeed, we cannot risk our energy supply chains becoming even more dependent on our adversaries. Moreover, the president’s radical environmental agenda should not lead us to ignore the fact that the CCP relies heavily on the use of forced labor in its solar manufacturing industry, a clear human rights violation.