The Wall Street Journal‘s editors correctly noted the internal—and intrinsic—contradictions in the Biden administration’s “renewable” energy demands and its trade policy. The administration is pushing ever harder to shift our economy, for good or ill (mostly ill IMNHO), to energy sourced to non-carbon-based, but renewable only—nuclear need not apply—producers. Then comes Gina Raimondo, Commerce Secretary, and her decision, backed by that same Joe Biden, to apply tariffs as high as 254% to solar power-related products imported from five People’s Republic of China enterprises, never minding that these companies are American domestic solar power producers’ primary sources of the needed articles.
But the Solar Energy Industries Association’s whine about the administration’s tariff policy leaped out at me.
It will take at least three to five years to ramp up domestic solar manufacturing capacity and the global supply chain will be vital in the short-term.
But would SEIA’s members actually ramp up domestic production without the tariffs, or would they simply continue buying from an enemy nation? SEIA is being disingenuous.
I’m not convinced that Commerce’s tariffs are the way to go—in general, they’re being applied as protectionist barriers rather than as foreign policy tools, and Commerce’s tariffs here are no exception—but SEIA’s plaints seem nothing more than excuse-making. After all, those members already have had those three to five years, and more, during which to ramp up domestic solar manufacturing capacity, and they’ve chosen not to do so.