China Warns US of Severe Repercussions Against New US Tariffs

by Leslie Wood January 25, 2018, 1:32
China Warns US of Severe Repercussions Against New US Tariffs

Hillsboro-based SolarWorld Americas got some much-needed good news on Monday, after President Donald Trump approved a series of tariffs on solar products imported into the US, potentially saving the company from closure.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Heinrich testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission in opposition and sent a letter to the Trump administration about potential negative effects on American jobs. GTM Research estimated it may cut US installations by 11 percent over the next five years.

Suniva, a Georgia-based but majority Chinese-owned solar panel manufacturer that went bankrupt in November and had been pushing the administration to impose the tariffs, praised the announcement.

The tariffs on imported solar panels will be set as high as 30 percent, with a gradual phase down to 15 percent.

The chairman of Whirlpool Corporation, Jeff Fettig, subsequently said that the new tariff on washing machines would create new manufacturing jobs in the US states of Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Solar Energy Industry Association said in a statement that the 30 percent tariff on solar components could result in the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments in the U.S.

Solar installers in New Mexico say there are a variety of reasons production has moved to China, including proximity to raw materials.

Missouri's largest solar company's warehouse is full of materials proudly labeled with the red, white, and blue; Except for a 3 month supply of solar panels neatly stacked in the corner.

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The bottom line is that Trump's new tariff on solar imports will have a very limited impact on China or domestic solar manufacturers, but red states will take a disproportionate share of the lost revenues and lost jobs from the reduction in USA solar installations - and taxpayers will end up footing much of the bill. First, the panels themselves represent just a fraction of the overall cost of a solar project. "I don't believe this decision will reverse the solar expansion in the U.S".

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

"Here in L.A. alone we have 16,000 solar jobs, it's the most of any county in America".

"New Mexico has seen major job growth in the solar industry, thanks to the rapidly declining cost of solar power", he said in his testimony in October. He has about 8 employees, and since 2007 has been serving most of the North State.

He has also downplayed the threat from global warming - an issue that led past administrations to throw their support behind emissions-free solar and wind energy development - rolling back climate change regulations and pulling the United States from a global pact to combat it.

No, but some projects will feel the impact more than others. "It is a very big industry and we are going to have a lot of plants built here in the United States", he said after signing legislation.

The federal government still offers a tax credit for solar installations until 2022. The United States is the world's fourth-largest solar market after China, Japan and Germany. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, has filed legislation this session, Senate Bill 79, to restore the credit for 10 percent of the total cost of materials and installation with a $9,000 cap.

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