A Huntsville, Alabama, solar panel factory will close after President Joe Biden exempted foreign-made bifacial solar panels from United States tariffs earlier this month.
LG Electronics, a South Korea-based company, announced that it will be closing its Huntsville solar panel manufacturing operation, resulting in the layoffs of about 160 American employees and another 60 Americans who are employed as contract workers.
Executives said they hope to retain as many employees as they can by transitioning them into the company’s other business and manufacturing sectors at its Huntsville campus. Laid-off employees will receive severance packages.
The announcement comes just weeks after Biden decided to exempt foreign-made bifacial solar panels — the overwhelming majority of which come from China — from Section 201 tariffs on solar imports to the United States that were first imposed by former President Trump in January 2018 at a 30 percent rate.
The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) had warned that Biden’s gutting U.S. tariffs on China-made bifacial solar panels would have a devastating impact on America’s solar manufacturing sector.
“China sympathizers may believe that gutting the 201 solar tariffs would not affect the U.S. solar manufacturing industry as long as Congress supports domestic producers. This is flat-out wrong,” CPA Chairman Zach Mottl said in a statement:
Without trade remedies to level the playing field for U.S. solar manufacturers that are competing against heavily subsidized Chinese companies, it won’t matter if Congress passes a domestic tax credit for American producers. [Emphasis added]
Shortly after Trump imposed the U.S. tariffs on solar imports, LG Electronics announced that they would expand their Huntsville campus to include manufacturing solar panels — a boon for the city’s local economy as every one factory job supports an additional 7.4 jobs.
In November, as Breitbart News reported, Biden’s Commerce Department sided with Chinese solar manufacturers who produce their products in Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam by denying a request from American solar manufacturers to investigate U.S. tariff evasion.
Biden had been lobbied by 12 Senate Democrats who sent a letter asking the administration not to impose any tariffs on the products made in Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam by the Chinese solar manufacturers.
From 2001 to 2018, U.S. free trade with China has cost Alabama at least 50,700 jobs or about 2.5 percent of the state’s employment. A previous study found that permanent 25 percent tariffs on China-made products imported to the U.S. market would create a million American jobs in five years.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.