U.S. President Joe Biden’s attempt to defuse a complicated trade dispute that’s paralyzed the U.S. solar industry is drawing swift criticism from some of the very companies the White House had been seeking to appease.

While environmental groups and some companies that develop solar farms and rooftop systems cheered the effort, it failed to win over U.S. panel makers that struggle to compete against Asian rivals. Their opposition reflects the challenge Biden faces when it comes to supporting domestic manufacturers without alienating the companies that rely on low-cost imports. It also underscores the White House's oft-competing political priorities as it seeks to combat climate change while taking a firm stance against China.

Biden's plan included invoking emergency authorities to impose a two-year ban on new tariffs for panels imported from four Southeast Asia nations, neutralizing a threat of retroactive duties that had all but frozen construction on new U.S. solar projects. He also used sweeping powers under the Defense Production Act to support domestic manufacturers as well as other U.S. clean-energy industries.