President Donald Trump took the plunge on the long-pending trade disputes by enforcing tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines. The duo-action corresponds to Trump’s first tariff impositions, and are his most significant trade actions, since he backed off from a Pacific trade deal and opened up negotiations to refit the North American Free Trade Agreement.
This is a reflex action responding to the pleas from American manufacturers, who had been protesting for years against the rising imports hampering their sales, and may provoke a deep administration offensive against US trading partners.
“There’s a real possibility that this opens the floodgates,” said Chad Bown, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Trump put tariffs of 30 per cent on solar panels in the first year, which will drop to half that figure in four years.
Those impositions were less hard-bitten than appealed by Suniva and SolarWorld, the two companies seeking government relief.
“We are still assessing these actions, and are optimistic they will significantly curb the import surge and reconstruct solar manufacturing in the United States,” said Juergen Stein, Chief Executive Officer and President of SolarWorld Americas Inc.
The Suniva-SolarWorld petition for protection instigated the wave of opposition from the domestic US solar industry. Tariffs make solar panels more costly, and hence fend off their use, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The trade association claimed that over 23,000 installers, engineers and project managers could become unemployed this year as the circulation of billions of dollars in planned investment stops. At present, over one third of the 260,000 Americans are employed in the industry, and are at verge of losing their jobs because of the imposed tariffs, the group said.
This declaration has capped nearly a decade of legal proceeding and has produced several manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. This move was a victory for American workers and consumers alike. However, the domestic US solar industry does not share the same opinion.