China protests United States raising tariffs on solar products

Michele Moreno
January 26, 2018

In a statement, the Office of the US Trade Representative said: "Following successful trade cases filed by the domestic industry, which levied 40 percent tariffs on Chinese solar imports, China moved production elsewhere and evaded usa relief, while maintaining capacity". It's a global tariff, but it will affect China the most due to its current market share. The tariff then falls to 25% a year later, 20% the following year, before capping at 15% in the fourth year. A tariff of 30% is to be imposed on components for solar panels with the rate dropping over a span of four years.

Lighthizer said the actions are created to defend American jobs.

"The President's action makes clear again that the Trump Administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard", Lighthizer said in a statement.

Trump's announcement of the new tariffs came as Mexico, the United States and Canada are meeting in Montreal, Canada, this week for the penultimate round of NAFTA renegotiation talks.

The Solar Energy Industries Association has projected tens of thousands of job losses in the sector that employs 260,000 people. The import taxes, however, will prove to be the most targeted strike on the industry yet.

The tariffs, while applicable to all foreign producers, are mainly targeted at China, which has become a powerful player in the solar industry as its low-cost panels have become the dominant source for USA installers.

SolarWorld had called for 50 percent tariffs on foreign-made solar panel imports.

"The United States possesses the talent, expertise, and vision to surpass the rest of the world in solar technologies and forge a new solar energy landscape around the globe", the secretary said. The move marks the first time in 16 years that the US has issued such safeguard measures. "It's hard to estimate how many this could help create for now, but it will definitely hurt USA consumers, who will have to pay much more".

"While we believe the decision will be significantly harmful to our industry and the economy, we appreciate that the president and the administration listened to our arguments", Hopper said.

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