Biden’s Anti-China Tariffs: Impact on U.S. Green Transition

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Biden threatens China green transition

Recently, the Biden Administration expanded tariffs on Chinese clean-energy imports. The president moved to increase tariffs to 25% on Chinese solar and steel products, claiming such imports threaten American manufacturing. This move to counter Chinese overcapacity within the renewable energy market, of which China holds the majority, raises questions about how Biden’s anti-China tariffs might affect the U.S. green transition efforts.

At the same time, the president claimed to be making significant investments in American manufacturing of renewable energy resources, like solar panels and the steel they require. President Biden claims American steel manufacturing produces half the carbon emissions of Chinese steel production. However, some experts and Chinese officials claim increasing tariffs could put America at a disadvantage in the green energy transition. 

Biden Escalates Tariffs On Chinese Imports

This new round of increased tariffs will have an effect this month following the May announcement. The White House outlined a 25% tariff on Chinese steel and aluminum, a 50% tariff on solar products from China, and a 100% tariff on Chinese electric vehicles. The president claims China has an unfair overflow of these products in the market, leading to an influx of “artificially cheap imports.”

While some see the president’s move as a win for American manufacturing, others call it a potential threat to the green transition. The tariff escalation potentially places two of the president’s primary platforms at odds. On one hand, President Biden has clearly outlined his stance on Chinese imports of clean energy products. On the other hand, severely limiting these imports from China could hamper global climate change efforts, as China remains the world’s top clean energy products producer

As the Biden administration advances its duties against Chinese renewable energy products, many doubt that America’s manufacturing infrastructure is poised to fill the gap left by a lack of Chinese imports. 

Chinese Solar Executive Warns US Falling Behind

A senior executive for one of China’s largest solar equipment makers has warned America risks falling behind in response to climate change. The steep tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese imports could have untold ramifications on the energy transition. 

Zhou Shijun, vice president of marketing for Arctech, which manufactures mounting systems for solar equipment, said this type of protectionism would “come back to haunt” the US and the world in the climate transition. 

Beijing promised to respond in kind to President Biden’s tariffs, launching an anti-dumping probe into EU, US, Japan, and Taiwan plastics. The total retaliation from Chinese officials remains yet unseen as the American tariffs take effect in mid-July. 

Striking the Balance 

President Biden’s primary issue in imposing tariffs on Chinese renewable energy imports remains America’s manufacturing capabilities. As the president vows to move renewable energy production back to US soil, the global energy transition must not be compromised in the process. The administration certainly has its work cut out to strike a balance between creating American manufacturing jobs and creating sufficient clean energy practices and products to transition the power supply. 

Experts Doubt the Effectiveness of Increased Tariffs

While increasing American production of renewable energy resources could certainly create American jobs and allow manufacturing on US soil, many are skeptical of the president’s decision. Unfortunately, the US remains many years behind in terms of electric vehicle development and renewable energy manufacturing. 

It’s unclear whether buying more time would enable American manufacturers to ramp up renewable energy project production in time to avoid a significant climate crisis, experts say. As events unfold, you can rely on us to bring the latest insight on the energy transition and more. 

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Tyler Reed
Tyler Reed began his career in the world of finance managing a portfolio of municipal bonds at the Bank of New York Mellon. Four years later, he led the Marketing and Business Development team at a high-profile civil engineering firm. He had a focus on energy development in federal, state, and local pursuits. He picked up an Executive MBA from the University of Florida along the way. Following an entrepreneurial spirit, he founded a content writing agency. There, they service marketing agencies, PR firms, and enterprise accounts on a global scale. A sought-after television personality and featured writer in too many leading publications to list, his penchant for research delivers crisp and intelligent prose his audience continually craves.

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