What Trump's tariff on solar panels means for Pennsylvania

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What Trump's tariff on solar panels means for Pennsylvania

Last week, President Donald Trump slapped a 30 percent tariff on solar panels imported from China and Taiwan. Workers make solar equipment for "off-grid" applications like powering mobile highway signs and railroad signals.

In 2014, Hemlock was forced to close a new polysilicon plant in Clarksville, Tenn., because of the Chinese tariffs. Obviously, much of the detailed planning was done before the tariff announcement.

In recent weeks, representatives from polysilicon makers have met with US trade officials, including Robert E. Lighthizer, the president's chief trade negotiator, and urged them to negotiate a settlement with China that would restore their access to the Chinese market. The tariffs will drive up costs for solar installation companies that import solar panels, costing them business. Economists have discovered that automation, not trade with other nations, is the overwhelming cause for job losses in manufacturing.

You can't exactly blame those naysayers, a rare combination of anti-Trump liberals and pro-free trade conservatives.

He warned the issues with the European Union could "morph into something big" regarding trade. It's also been blasted as a blatant attempt to shore up the fossil-fuel industry at the expense of a rapidly expanding, environmentally friendly energy source. The industry only brought in $210 million in total revenues past year. They also expect delays and cancellations of billions of dollars in investments. And that's worth protecting. Argue as he might that this move won't start a trade war, Trump's tariffs will likely increase tensions with other countries, especially China.

Kirk Short is President of Commercial Operations at Sunworks, a Roseville-based solar company. Sustained technological innovation has helped shift markets in powerful ways and incentives have been useful, but the majority of USA wind and solar generation has been fueled by regulatory requirements and consumer choice. Even with massive government backing from the Obama administration, Solyndra failed. Potential Impacts The solar industry now employs more than 260,000 Americans. The European Union responded with tariffs of their own. The U.S. companies are either already gone or too weak to expand right now. According to research, states with burgeoning solar markets, such as Texas, Florida, Georgia and SC, will be disproportionately harmed by the tariffs. But this is a significantly positive result. The administration did that because 95% of solar panels now in use in the U.S. are imported. At that time, in the hysterical atmosphere as Trump was just entering the White House, Xi won plaudits by stressing his commitment to globalisation, and combating climate change via the Paris Agreement.

Sullivan said she remains hopeful that the United States and China will broker a resolution instead of resorting to more tit-for-tat tariffs. No one can realistically ignore any threats in the future. After only one week from the decision to impose heavy tariffs, jobs are going down.

So there was a clear and present reason to impose a tariff then, but what about now?

That approach wouldn't be without precedent. It's a move he says he would like to see. The reality is so much more awful. This tax on solar does not help the average American and is yet another example of Trump's lack of concern for the environment. It's all about jobs. Due to high industry competition and a lawsuit by Suniva and SolarWorld, two companies that filed for bankruptcy that year. Focusing on what the tariff will or won't do for America's remaining solar companies is all wrong. One has to wonder, is it really about economic growth and American jobs?

The U.S. solar industry may never be able to compete against Chinese imports, but U.S. workers might still reap the benefits of solar manufacturing either way.

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