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Commerce secretary defends China solar tariff probe despite freeze on clean energy projects

Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo pushed back Wednesday against bipartisan criticism that the agency has cast a shadow over the solar industry.

The Biden Cabinet official defended an investigation into whether China is flouting U.S. tariffs by secretly providing solar panel components to manufacturers in Southeast Asia, a probe that has forced the solar industry to hit the pause button and go into panic mode.

Ms. Raimondo said her hands are essentially tied because the department is “obliged” to investigate an allegation by a small California solar panel manufacturer that China is using four nearby countries — Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam — to funnel parts into the U.S. that would otherwise be subject to trade tax.

Roughly 80% of imported solar panels come from those four countries, according to the American Clean Power Association. More than 300 solar projects have already screeched to a halt, putting

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