US imposes new tariffs, impacting the solar market

Published: 23 Jan 2018 By Matt Cook

The Trump administration have confirmed tariffs will be placed on the importing of solar panels. The announcement came on Monday in direct responses by US industry to manage the surge of cheap imports impacts US-based businesses.

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The tariffs are directly aimed at Asia manufacturers, in particular, solar panel manufacturers in China. The tariff changes will also affect current trading partner operations in Mexico, Canada, and Europe. Trade representatives in the US have welcomed the tariff decision stating it highlights the president's commitment to defending the American workers and its businesses.

New tariffs on solar materials could be as high as 30% and be combing with quotas that would phase out over the next few years.  Solar petitions were phased out by Solar World Americas and Sunviva, who both recently filed for bankruptcy.

The Trump administration has developed the tariffs based on a prior trade law that permits companies to gain support if it is proven their business has been damaged by an influx of imports. This law was last utilized by George Bush to safeguard steel companies.

Representatives for the Trump administration have emphasized that Chinese industrial policy is largely controlling the solar industry, creating additional capacity to the solar market and as a result is having a significant impact on the US solar market.

Solar panel installers in the US who have benefited from an increase in cheap imports have criticised the decision. The Solar Energy Industries Association, which represent installers nationwide have predicted the imposing tariffs will result in over 20,000 solar jobs being lost this year and cause a significant loss of investment into the solar market.

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