Colorado Gov. Polis slams Biden’s new tariffs on Chinese EVs, solar panels – News From The States

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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis had harsh words on Tuesday for President Joe Biden’s move to sharply increase tariffs on many Chinese-made goods.

“This is horrible news for American consumers and a major setback for clean energy,” Polis wrote on his personal X account. “Tariffs are a direct, regressive tax on Americans and this tax increase will hit every family.”

Under a plan announced Monday, the Biden administration will hike tariffs on a wide variety of products, including a quadrupling of the tariff on Chinese-made electric vehicles to 100%, along with new tariffs on semiconductors, lithium-ion batteries and photovoltaic solar panels.

“China is determined to dominate these industries,” Biden wrote on X in announcing the tariffs. “I’m determined to ensure America leads the world in them.”

In a call with reporters Monday, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard said China’s unfair trade practices have “harmed communities in Michigan and Pennsylvania” — two key battleground states in the 2024 presidential election. Democratic members of Congress from those and other states with large manufacturing sectors urged Biden in a letter earlier this month to increase tariffs.

The prospect of tariff hikes has divided the clean energy industry, which employs more than 64,000 people in Colorado. A small but growing American solar manufacturing sector stands to benefit from the strengthened trade protections, while installers and developers, which have long relied on a supply of solar panels from overseas, say the move will hurt their business and slow the clean-energy transition.

The Biden administration had previously enacted a two-year pause on tariffs on solar products made by Chinese-owned companies in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, following pressure from top Colorado Democrats, including Polis and Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, who said the tariffs would harm the state’s solar industry.

Polis, a moderate Democrat who has often been at odds with members of his party over issues of taxation and regulation, joins free-trade advocates and some progressive environmental groups in criticizing the tariff hikes. Climate advocates have been especially critical of the 100% tariff on EVs, which they say will slow EV adoption while sparing American automakers from having to compete in the market for smaller, cheaper EV models produced by Chinese manufacturers.

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