U.S. slaps 'America First' tariffs on washing machines, photo voltaic panels
Jan 24 2018 by Lorena Waters
The Trump administration on Monday imposed a tariff on imported solar panel components. Solar now accounts for around 1.4% of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation, up from virtually nothing in 2007. As for solar panels, which will face tariffs as high as 30%, exports to the USA are likely to decrease by 10-30%.
While it may sound like good news for American manufacturing, experts say only two USA -based manufacturers actually make solar panel parts while thousands of other companies buy and install them. It says its inclusion in the application of protections is "regrettable" given the U.S. International Trade Commission determined no damage exists to U.S. industry as a effect of imports of Mexican washing machines.
SolarWorld Americas, Inc. is one of the only manufacturers still standing. But by the fourth year of the tariff, in which the levy drops to 15 percent, the measure will only raise the cost of modules by 4 cents per watt.
President Donald Trump instituted a tariff on solar-panel imports this week.
Last month, another 11 members of Congress - eight representatives and three senators - sent letters to President Trump imploring him to impose "strong and effective remedies" as protection. Countries harmed by his decision could appeal to the World Trade Organization.
Suniva filed for bankruptcy in April, days before it filed the petition for trade relief. In May, SolarWorld, the Oregon-based subsidiary of a German panel maker, joined the complaint. That leaves the Southeast, where utilities have commissioned a of solar projects since 2015, particularly vulnerable to higher tariffs.
The decisions in the two "Section 201" safeguard cases for washing machines and solar cells came after the US International Trade Commission (ITC) found imports were "a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic manufacturers".
From 2012 to previous year, the number of American solar cell manufacturers went from 25 to two. First Solar makes panels using cadmium telluride that are excluded from the trade case. He said Whirlpool, which complained about the imports, did not "keep up with innovation". The administration said that the tariffs are largely directed at China, which over the past decade has built itself into the world's largest manufacturer of solar products, flooding global markets with low-priced crystalline silicon panels.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman said his state, Ohio, has more washing machine manufacturing than anywhere else in the U.S.
Around 2,700 people are employed by the solar power industry in Indiana.
Moreover, the U.S.is only one market in a global solar industry that is growing robustly.
Solar panels and other solar equipment coming into the United States of America will be faced with a tariff of up to 30 percent.
The national trade association of the US solar energy industry, Solar Energy Industries Association, says the decision will cost 23,000 American jobs this year, many in manufacturing. Coal, the country's second-biggest source of electricity, would be unlikely to see a major impact because its main competitor for market share remains natural gas.
"We think about 23,000 people across the country will lose their job this year alone because of the president's decisions", Hopper said. Jones' warehouse was a little more packed than usual Tuesday as he stocked up on solar panels that he imports. He has changed his mind. He said he might be forced to lay off up to 25 percent of his 3,200 installers. Samsung and LG have announced plans to build factories in SC and Tennessee, creating 1,600 jobs.