Trump imposes 30 percent tariff on solar panels, washing machines

No major progress has been made on key issues through the first five rounds of the renegotiation of NAFTA

The Trump administration just struck a huge blow against the USA solar industry, slapping tariffs on imported panels that could drive up the cost of new projects.

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and a candidate for governor, supports the tariff, saying it will give American companies who want to manufacture solar panels a chance to do so.

22, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced the Trump administration had approved a 30 percent tariff on foreign-made solar products.

On top of that, MIDF highlighted that inward flows from the U.S. fell for the first three consecutive quarters of 2017 in tandem with Trump's protectionist moves. The problem for the US solar industry is that it relies on cheaper imported panels for 80 percent of its supply.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, estimates that the tariffs will eliminate 23,000 jobs this year and lead to the cancellation of billions of dollars' worth of solar investments.

Trump acted Tuesday to impose new tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines in a bid to help USA manufacturers.

The tariffs imposed could lead to higher costs for both products. First, the panels themselves represent just a fraction of the overall cost of a solar project.

It pointed to a conclusion reached by the United States International Trade Commission that washing machines exports from Mexico don't harm the USA industry.

However, the research house warned that the Trump administration is expected to impose tariff hikes on the steel and aluminium industries next as he continues the campaign to attract US-based companies to bring jobs back to Americans.

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China, the world's biggest solar panel producer, branded the move an "overreaction" that would harm the global trade environment for affected products.

"The leading solar trade group predicted that the tariffs could cut forecasted solar installations this year by almost 20 percent, to 9 gigawatts from 11 gigawatts, and lead to the loss of 23,000 jobs in the United States, the world's fourth-largest solar market after China, Japan and Germany". Other manufacturers from Asia voiced similar sentiments. According to Global Times CCEER director Lin Boqiang, on the other hand, said the tariffs are not likely to have a great impact on the Chinese industry as the biggest driver for the same is domestic demand and not the USA market. With solar installations expected to top 100 GW across the world this year, costs should continue to fall, offsetting some of the cost increases related to the USA tariffs. BNEF figures suggest the cost of solar modules could jump 10 cents to 43 cents per watt - a sizable increase.

Research firm CFRA said it expects the tariffs to increase solar system prices by about $0.10 per watt.

But GTM's research finds that the tariffs will reduce US installations about 10 percent over the next five years.

The relief will include a tariff of 30 per cent in the first year, 25 per cent in the second year, 20 per cent in the third year, and 15 per cent in the fourth year.

"This is not a goodbye for renewable energy in the U.S.", Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

While Bell Labs in the USA invented the modern photovoltaic cell in the 1950s, the industry has flourished elsewhere since.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., has been one of the most vocal opponents of the tariff.

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