Trump signs safeguard measures against imported washers, solar cells

A solar panel sits near a tomato field at Wards Berry Farm in Sharon Massachusetts on Oct. 24 2017

Trump said that the tariffs will help US manufacturers and positioned the decision as part of his promise to put American companies and jobs first.

The agencies determined that solar imports were a "substantial cause of serious injury or threat to the domestic industry" and recommended the tariff-quota under the president's authority to give "relief from injury caused by import competition".

Trump has talked about taking action ever since he assumed office and in his inauguration speech a year ago, he promised to protect United States borders from other countries "making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs". A spokesman for First Solar said the company would not comment Tuesday on the tariff.

"Instead, this misguided decision to impose tariffs on solar products will negatively impact thousands of workers who depend on solar to support their families, and it will hurt American competitiveness in the global economy".

The president approved a 4-year tax on imported solar energy cells and panels.

The SE statement added that the United States' importation of Mexican solar panels encourages the development of renewable energies, which in turn contribute to a reduction of the use of fossil fuels.

The announcement came in response to trade complaints from some solar panel manufacturers with operations in the USA, who allege that cheap imports are driving them out of business. It was later joined in the petition by SolarWorld.

Suniva called the tariffs "necessary", while SolarWorld said it was "hopeful they will be enough".

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Noting that China would become the world's largest market, with a market size that is potentially three to four times that of the United States, she said China would promote economic and trade relations with other countries through increasing the "cake of cooperation".

"A tariff lasting only four years and ratcheting down quickly is unlikely to attract any manufacturing investment that was not going to occur anyways". He added that China exported just US$14 billion of solar panels to the USA in 2016, which amounted to just 0.66 per cent of its trade with the US.

China branded the move an "overreaction" that would harm the global trade environment.

Zypries said she concerned Trump's decision could trigger a new trade war with China and South Korea, which in turn would have repercussions for Europe and Germany.

"China will work with other WTO members to resolutely defend its legitimate interests in response to the erroneous USA decision. It'll only be stock increases for companies that are in our country".

The case for a tariff emerged from a complaint by two US -based companies that manufactured solar cells, the building blocks of solar panels: Suniva Inc., the Georgia-based subsidiary of a Chinese firm, which declared bankruptcy in April, and SolarWorld Americas, the USA subsidiary of a German company.

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.



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