November 1, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Trade Panel Recommends Up to 35% Tariff on Imported Solar Panels

Wall Street Journal:

Federal trade officials are recommending that the Trump administration impose an import tariff of up to 35% on solar panels to protect U.S. solar manufacturers from low-price imports that have undercut the companies’ ability to compete.

Members of the U.S. International Trade Commission outlined their various recommendations Tuesday, which also included import quotas and a licensing fee. They must now send them to the White House, which has until January to decide what, if any, actions to take.

The recommendations come several months after two embattled solar-panel makers, Suniva Inc. and SolarWorld Americas Inc., petitioned the ITC for a tariff on imported solar cells, the component of a solar panel that converts sunlight to electricity and which both companies make. Suniva and SolarWorld had also sought either a floor price on solar modules or a quota on imported cells and modules in order to help domestic manufacturers compete against the imports, mostly coming from Asia.

On Tuesday, a majority of trade commissioners recommended the president implement tariffs on imported solar panels and cells. But the size of the tariffs varied, and fell short of both the 25 cents a watt tariff that Suniva and SolarWorld had requested on cells and the 32 cents requested for panels.

Panel installers and others in the solar industry counter that a tariff would raise prices for consumers and hurt demand for solar arrays that were made more affordable by cheap imports. Both sides have claimed thousands of American jobs are on the line.

Abigail Ross Hopper, chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group that has opposed the petition, said she was heartened that the ITC recommendations fell short of what the companies had requested, but still sees them as being “intensely harmful” to the broader U.S. solar industry.

More ($): U.S. Trade Panel Backs Solar Tariffs

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