Trump reveals 30% solar tariffs

A solar panel sits near a tomato field at Wards Berry Farm in Sharon Massachusetts on Oct. 24 2017

A solar panel sits near a tomato field at Wards Berry Farm in Sharon Massachusetts on Oct. 24 2017

Solar panel prices dropped by 80 percent between 2008 and 2013, helping to drive the USA expansion.

There may be some hope for the vast majority of the United States solar industry that lined up against this case.

Through his presidential campaign and his first year in office, Trump repeatedly promised to aggressively go after China and other nations that he feels conduct unfair trade practices and hurt domestic industries.

"The duty barrier will shock Asian suppliers in the near-term", said Frank Yu of energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie. "These tariffs are then going to take the very rapidly growing, successful, good jobs that we have built in manufacturing of the other equipment, in installing, and reduce those jobs to a fraction of what they should be".

Trump's tariffs have dealt a heavy blow to South Korea's Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, who together sell between 2.5 million to 3 million washing machines annually to the United States, making around $1 billion in export earnings.

Mark Bortman, founder of Exact Solar in Philadelphia, said the prospect of tariffs, since the trade commission recommended them in October, had already caused him to delay hiring and expansion plans. "As they have said in official filings, price matters".

The Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association estimates 6,000 people in our state work in the solar industry, and that 2,000 of those jobs could be lost. "We remain committed to working closely with the energy industry and our manufacturing peers toward a solution that supports domestic manufacturing and domestic innovation with a global mindset to keep America solar strong". American solar companies are pushing to divvy up that money between manufacturers and suppliers in both the USA and China as part of a deal that, they say, could effectively reset solar- trade relations between the two nations.

South Korea said it would complain to the World Trade Organisation, calling the tariffs "excessive" and "regrettable". Suniva was joined by SolarWorld Americas, the USA subsidiary of a German company.

Trump ignored a recommendation from the ITC to exclude South Korean-produced washing machines from LG from the tariffs.

India has also recently re-opened a US dispute, alleging Washington has failed to comply with a ruling on solar power. The idea is to protect USA manufacturers of solar equipment from cheaper offerings made overseas, especially by Chinese companies. Those tariffs will range from 20 to 50 percent. The tariffs apply to all imported photovoltaic cells and modules, which are the core elements of solar panels.

There remains the possibility of some manufacturers winning exclusions to the tariffs.

"The solar industry has come through worse policy decisions and will come through this one, too", he said. In Singapore, unlisted REC operates one of the city-state's biggest manufacturing sites.

China accused Trump of jeopardizing the multilateral trading system by taking action on complaints under US law instead of through the World Trade Organization.

"There is hope for a negotiated settlement", said Clark Packard, trade policy counsel at the free-market think tank R Street Institute.

"California in particular, which has been leading the country in developing renewable resources, will certainly be impacted", said Jerry Bloom, a senior counsel with the Winston & Strawn law firm who specializes in energy transactions and project development for the electric power industry.

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