Solar Panels, Washing Machines Hit With Trump's Tariffs

Jan 24, 2018, 12:08

Donald Trump's decision to impose a tariff on imported solar panels will cost the U.S. solar industry about 23,000 jobs this year and risks slowing the growth of clean energy that would help address climate change, renewable energy advocates warned.

The US yesterday slapped high tariffs on import of solar cells and washing machines to protect the American market badly hit by products from countries like China and South Korea, who reacted angrily. "Those actually are some of the people that might lose their jobs because of this". "It's been a long time". First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), a US manufacturer of thin-film solar panels, saw its share price skyrocket on the news, as its competition - foreign manufacturers - will see costs rise. Fresh from a government shutdown victory and with the USA economy on a roll, the President decided on Tuesday to kick off his long-promised war on imports-and American consumers. "It's just basic economics-if you raise the price of a product it's going to decrease demand for that product".

Like other USA utilities, Duke Energy-which owns more than 800 MW of solar power capacity, with plans to add more than 3,000 MW over the next five years-issued a statement Tuesday saying the president's action would not stop its investment in solar power, but the utility will closely evaluate projects moving forward.

Suniva spokesman Mark Paustenbach called tariffs "a step forward for this high-tech solar-manufacturing industry we pioneered right here in America".

The announcement came in response to trade complaints from some solar panel manufacturers with operations in the US, who allege that cheap imports are driving them out of business.

The Republican's decision followed recommendations for tariffs by the U.S. International Trade Commission. Simultaneously, they levied their own retaliatory tariffs on US -produced raw materials used to make them, costing thousands of American jobs.

"Who loses? The consumer, because everything costs more, and they didn't produce a better module", he says.

"It's a textbook case of how certain companies really can game the process and use the trade laws to try to accomplish what they can't do in the marketplace", he said. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE) were down 2.69 percent. In 2016, solar became the top source of new US electricity-generating capacity. "These tariffs are punitive, anti-business, and will eliminate far more jobs than they create". The tariffs were broadly in line with investor expectations, creating some relief in the market, analysts said.

There is still uncertainty on when the tariffs will be imposed.

In a joint, Suniva and SolarWold "applauded" Trump, but urged him to increase the first-year tariff to 50 percent.

Officially, the tariff is meant to encourage the growth and expansion of the domestic solar manufacturing industry.

Trump has consistently talked up a return to nonrenewable energy sources, such as coal, and pledged to bring related jobs back, even though clean-energy jobs have been growing exponentially - particularly in the solar field. The United States is the world's fourth-largest solar market after China, Japan and Germany.

China could retaliate by weighing whether the actions are in line with WTO rules while reacting up pressure on US businesses, for example by buying from a European company such as Airbus instead of Boeing.

"Together with other WTO members, China will resolutely defend its legitimate interests", said spokesman Way Hejun.

"The United States has opted for measures that put political considerations ahead of worldwide standards", Kim told a meeting of industry officials. Almost 30 USA solar-manufacturing facilities had closed in the past five years, they said, as China plotted to flood the global market with cheap products to weaken US manufacturing.

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