Washington ~ The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) applauds the Trump Administration’s decision yesterday to impose safeguard tariffs on imports of solar panels and clothes washers.
“America invented solar cell technology,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “But China stole that technology and has massively subsidized solar production for the purpose of dominating the global solar industry. The president’s decision to impose safeguard tariffs is a key first step in correcting the market and giving America’s solar panel manufacturers a chance to get on solid footing.”
As the trade case demonstrated, China was extraordinarily aggressive in targeting the U.S. market. In 2011, the International Trade Commission imposed duties on Chinese solar panels after finding massive subsidies resulted in sales at below fair-market value. China responded by moving production to Taiwan. In 2013, new duties were imposed to address the shift in production. China then moved production to Malaysia, Germany, Singapore, and Korea. Between 2005 and 2017, China’s global market share skyrocketed from 7 percent to 70 percent,.
The administration’s decision opts out of this whack-a-mole game by targeting imports from all of the countries involved in China’s solar production chain. The tariffs start at 30 percent, then decline by 5 percent each year for the next three years. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cell capacity are exempt from the tariff.
The U.S. Trade Representative also announced safeguard tariffs against imported clothes washers. U.S. manufacturers have been forced to endure a flood of government-subsidized clothes washers produced by Korean companies LG and Samsung in 2011, 2013, and 2015. LG and Samsung have moved production at various times to avoid facing trade action. Yesterday’s decision ends this game by imposing tariffs on all imports of clothes washers regardless of country of origin.
“The U.S. needs to refocus its economic strategy efforts on manufacturing and agricultural production supply chains and the jobs that go with them,” said Stumo. “The administration has sent a message that America will no longer be the consumer of last resort that is expected to finance the growth of countries which use subsidized overproduction to take market share from American firms that play by the rules of global trade.”