Trump signs safeguard measures against imported washers, solar cells

Dora Pope
January 25, 2018

Hillsboro-based SolarWorld Americas got some much-needed good news on Monday, after President Donald Trump approved a series of tariffs on solar products imported into the USA, potentially saving the company from closure.

"There are a lot of ways to further support the growth of USA renewable energy manufacturing; this job-killing tariff is not one of them", said Vote Solar executive director Adam Browning. The administration also introduced a tariff on imported washing machines.

These tolls are part of President Trump's promise to protect American manufacturing, and he says this tax will protect American jobs and American workers. However, a WTO appeal could take a long time to resolve, and a pending WTO appeal likely would not stay the implementation of the Solar Tariff.

But the solar industry countered that the move will raise the cost of installing panels, quash billions of dollars of investment, and kill tens of thousands of jobs, raising questions about whether Trump's move will backfire by triggering mass layoffs.

But while US manufacturers could see gains, those gains could be short-lived, said Brandon Cheshire, the president of the Arizona Energy Industries Association. The tariffs will decrease by 5 percent each year through 2021.

The impact of a tariff can protect domestic producers from dumping goods in the United States, but it can also lead to sharply higher costs for the consumer.

"To think of solar as a manufacturing business in the U.S.is misguided", Kadish says".

Research firm Wood Mackenzie estimated that over the next five years the tariffs would reduce USA solar installation growth by 10 to 15 percent.

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Suniva on Monday said the tariffs were "necessary", while SolarWorld said it was "hopeful they will be enough".

SolarWorld, which pushed for tariffs along with Suniva, is a USA -based subsidiary of a German company.

Shunfeng rose 2.6 percent after the announcement and SolarWorld was up 22 percent.

"This is not a goodbye for renewable energy in the U.S.", Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. SunPower Corp, which manufactures panels in Asia, was down more than 6 percent and residential installer SunRun Inc. was up about 6 percent. But, because prices have fallen so dramatically in recent years, the increase only sets the industry back to about 2016-2017 price levels, which was a time when the solar industry was still doing very well.

Globally, solar capacity soared to nearly 400 GW past year from under 10 GW in 2007, according to the International Renewable Energy Administration. The United States is the world's fourth-largest solar market after China, Japan and Germany.

South Korea will ask the U.S.to "ease and withdraw" the measures, and will exercise rights under the WTO, the trade ministry said in a statement.

President Donald Trump said the tariffs he is imposing on imported solar components will preserve USA companies and help create jobs here, but some industry officials fear it will have the opposite effect by driving up prices and turning people away from solar power. "The government will actively respond to the spread of protectionist measures to defend national interests".

"If your costs go up, that means we build less solar", Randall said, but "it won't deter us from building as much solar as we can".

Other reports by My Hot News

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