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Chairman Smith Floor Remarks: House Joint Resolution 39, Congressional Review Act Legislation on Solar Tariffs

April 28, 2023

As delivered

Thank you Mr. Speaker,

Today, we take a bipartisan step towards holding China accountable for its trade abuses.

These trade abuses are well-known to all of us in this Chamber. Most recently, this past December President Biden’s Commerce Department found that China is circumventing tariffs on imports into the U.S. by shipping solar products through not one country – not two countries – not even three countries. But four separate Southeast Asian countries.

These tariffs have been in place since 2012 to provide a level playing field for American manufacturers who were facing unfair competition in the U.S. market from solar products that China was subsidizing and selling at unfairly low prices. By circumventing these tariffs by shipping its products through Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, China has set up a solar panel export scheme that cheats American workers and consumers.

So we know there’s wrongdoing going on. We know China is cheating. And that’s precisely why members of both parties were stunned and disappointed when the White House made the misguided decision to halt for two years additional tariffs on Chinese solar products being sent through these four countries.

At a time when China has a dominant position in solar production – despite longstanding American innovation in this sector – should we really be telling the world that there will be less accountability for unfair trade practices?

The answer is not just “no.” It’s “absolutely not.”

But the President’s proclamation to halt any new countervailing duties and tariffs does just that. And what’s worse, it establishes a lesser standard of accountability for China than the rest of the world.

The legislation before us today, House Joint Resolution 39, Congressional Review Act Legislation on Solar Tariffs, will stop President Biden’s proclamation that has given a free pass for two years to unfair solar imports from China that circumvent our trade laws.

The United States must maintain crucial protections for American workers and our economy as a whole. We cannot surrender to China or any other country and put American workers at a disadvantage.

This resolution has bipartisan support. I want to thank Representative Posey for leading this initiative, and Ways and Means Committee Members Dan Kildee of Michigan, Greg Murphy of North Carolina, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, Terri Sewell of Alabama, Claudia Tenney of New York, and Nicole Malliotakis of New York for their leadership. The fact that Democrats and Republicans on our Committee are original cosponsors of this resolution shows just how bipartisan the issue is.

We have to confront the Chinese Communist Party’s bad behavior. We have to hold it accountable.

I urge you to vote in favor of this legislation.