NTU urges all Representatives to vote "NO" on House Joint Resolution 39, Congressional Review Act Legislation on Solar Tariffs
Just weeks after the House of Representatives passed The Lower Energy Costs Act (H.R. 1), the House will consider a proposal to increase energy costs by raising tariffs on solar goods.
A proposed Congressional Review Act resolution, H.J. Res. 39, would nullify a two-year suspension of tariffs on certain solar panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, or Vietnam that use parts and components manufactured in China.
National Taxpayers Union (NTU) does not believe that Congress should increase energy costs via the Congressional Review Act.
The tariffs in question were initially imposed on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells from the People's Republic of China in 2012. In 2022, in response to a request from Auxin Solar Inc., the Commerce Department determined that some of these duties were being circumvented through the inclusion of Chinese parts on goods imported from other countries.
NTU agrees with the House Ways and Means Committee that trade policy should protect the interests of American workers and our economy as a whole. However, the initial imposition of solar tariffs resulted from a flawed and biased system. The Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) failed to utilize cost-benefit analysis to consider the impact of tariffs on the U.S. economy. Solar taxes were imposed without consideration of their impact on U.S. jobs, on the energy industry, on manufacturers, or on energy prices for American households.
A more fundamental question than whether foreign suppliers are attempting to circumvent solar tariffs is whether Congress should continue to allow the Commerce Department and USITC to impose tariffs on solar goods, tin mill products, fertilizer, and other goods without first considering the impact of such tariffs on all Americans, not just the industry seeking protection.
These tariffs would protect Auxin from import competition. Ironically, according to the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as of 2019 most of the components and materials used by Auxin are imported. Earlier this year Auxin even asked the Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives to exclude certain Chinese-produced solar goods from Section 301 tariffs, writing: “Removing tariffs on junction boxes, solar glass, EVAs, and solar module assembly equipment would free up further resources to hasten the expansion of the U.S. solar value chain, ultimately yielding a more secure domestic solar supply chain.”
At a time when many taxpayers are struggling with high energy prices – brought on, in part, by flawed government policies – Congress should not use the Congressional Review Act to increase taxes on American energy users. NTU urges you to reject H.J. Res. 39.
Roll call votes on H.J. Res. 39 will be included in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.