Move decried by solar industry, saying tariffs would create crisis

China and Korea are protesting U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose steep tariffs on washing machines and solar panels, a move that is fueling concerns in Asia that more U.S. protectionist measures are forthcoming.

President Trump has imposed a 30% import tariff on solar panels coming from overseas manufacturers to the US. "I am in support of the tariff, for the simple reason we lost 25 great American manufacturers for solar in the past couple of years". "Tens of thousands of jobs in the solar sector could be stamped out, and it could hurt momentum at a time when we need to massively ramp up clean energy to reduce carbon emissions". "This is shortsighted and will cost American jobs".

"SolarWorld Americas appreciates the hard work of President Trump, the US trade representative, and this administration in reaching today's decision, and the president's recognition of the importance of solar manufacturing to America's economic and national security", said SolarWorld CEO and President Juergen Stein in a statement.

President Trump's pledge during the presidential campaign to help manufacturing workers by reducing imports from China and other countries sounded half-baked.

At the end of 2016, the United States solar manufacturing industry employed 38,000 people.

The move is expected to cause upheaval in the $28 billion industry that imports 80 percent of its products overseas, mostly Asian countries including Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and China.

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Frank Yu, a Bejing-based consultant with Wood Mackenzie, wrote in a note to investors Monday, "the duty barrier will shock Asian suppliers in the near term and they will likely switch gears to penetrate more into the growing Asian markets to offset the impact".

Trump has often promised to get tough with China and other exporters that he says compete unfairly with US manufacturers.

We remember previous year, two struggling U.S. Tariffs will begin at 20% on large residential washing machines, according to the announcement Monday from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

"While higher prices for the modules we buy are never welcome, the new tariff rate was widely anticipated", Hole said. The tariffs on solar products last four years starting at 30 percent, falling to 15 percent in the fourth year.

Korean companies like Samsung and LG are expected to be hit hard.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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