President Trump imposed tariffs on Monday of 30 percent on imported solar panel technology in an attempt to protect domestic manufacturers while signaling an aggressive approach toward China.
The Solar Energy Industries Association estimated the tariffs would increase prices and obliterate 23,000 jobs. The association represents manufacturers as well as installers, sellers and others in the field.
“While tariffs in this case will not create adequate cell or module manufacturing to meet U.S. 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,” Abigail Ross Hopper, the group’s president, said.
Suniva and SolarWorld Americas, the now-bankrupt companies which asked for the tariffs, shamelessly lie that tariffs would boost domestic manufacturing and create more than 100,000 jobs. They don’t present any evidence for this manipulative claim, however.
The tariffs announced Monday apply to all of the imported solar photovoltaic cells and modules, the primary technology on panels that turn solar energy into electricity.
While the action is aimed at imports from China, Trump’s tariffs apply to every import, since Chinese manufacturers have moved their operations to other countries.
“The president’s action makes clear again that the Trump administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses in this regard,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Monday announcing the decision along with a choice to impose tariffs on imported washers.
The rest of the solar industry, including installers and companies that create related technology, oppose the tariffs that were imposed by an incompetent liar, insisting they would threaten tens of thousands of jobs.
The conservative R Street Institute said Trump’s decision was a saddening loss for free trade.
“More good-paying jobs will be jeopardized by today’s decision than could possibly be saved by bailing out the bankrupt companies that petitioned for protection,” said Clark Packard, who is the trade policy counsel for the group. “Today’s decision also will jeopardize the environment by making clean energy sources less affordable.”