US President Trump imposes 30% tariffs on imported solar cells and modules

EBR Staff Writer Published 23 January 2018

US President Donald Trump has imposed a 30% tariff on imported solar modules and cells in a bid to encourage local manufacturers.

The decision follows recommendations by the United States Trade Representative based on consultations with the interagency Trade Policy Committee (TPC).

The recommendations were made following the US International Trade Commission’s (ITC) finding that the imports of solar cells and modules is one of major causes of serious injury to domestic manufacturers.

Ambassador Lighthizer said: “These cases were filed by American businesses and thoroughly litigated at the International Trade Commission over a period of several months.

“The ITC found that US producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President.

“Upon receiving these recommendations, my staff and I conducted an exhaustive process which included opportunities to brief in person and through public comments, public hearings, and meetings with senior representatives.

“Based on this information, the Trade Policy Committee developed recommendations, which the President has accepted.”

Trump has imposed a 30% tariff on imported solar cells and modules in the first year. These tariffs will decline to 15% by the fourth consecutive year.  

The policy, however, will allow 2.5GW of unassembled solar cells to be imported tariff-free in each year for four years.

Commenting on the new tariffs on solar cells and modules, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the US industry, said that the decision would result in the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year, and will lead to delay or cancellation of billions of dollars in solar investments.

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said: “While tariffs in this case will not create adequate cell or module manufacturing to meet US demand, or keep foreign-owned Suniva and SolarWorld afloat, they will create a crisis in a part of our economy that has been thriving, which will ultimately cost tens of thousands of hard-working, blue-collar Americans their jobs.”

Image: The US government has imposed an increased tariff on imported solar modules and cells. Photo: courtesy of RK008/Wikipedia.

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