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Power Businesses China Government The Almighty Buck United States

Trump Administration Approves Tariffs of 30 Percent On Imported Solar Panels (axios.com) 445

The Trump administration just approved tariffs of 30% on imported solar panels. Axios explains why it matters: "Most of the American solar industry has opposed tariffs on panels, saying they would raise prices and hurt the sector. A small group of solar panel manufacturers argued -- successfully -- that an influx of cheap imports, largely from China or Chinese-owned companies, was hurting domestic manufacturing. It's also part of President Trump's broader trade agenda against China." From the report: The tariffs would last for four years and decline in increments of 5% from 30%: 25%, 20% and finally 15% in the fourth year. The tariffs are lower than the 35% the U.S. International Trade Commission had initially recommended last year, per Bloomberg. This is actually the third, and broadest, set of tariffs the U.S. government has issued on solar imports in recent years. The Obama administration issued two earlier rounds of tariffs on a narrower set of imports. Monday's action also imposed import tariffs on washing machines, a much lower profile issue than solar energy.
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Trump Administration Approves Tariffs of 30 Percent On Imported Solar Panels

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    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jwhyche ( 6192 )

      I don't know, how many times has Trump extinguished all life on this planet? Can you give us some hard numbers? i've search google for it and I've come up with nothing.

      Why don't you get back to us with some hard numbers on this.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by jwhyche ( 6192 )

        Boy some mods really hate it when you ask for hard data on someone hysterical rants. Especially if it shines light on their narrow view of the world.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

        i've search google for it and I've come up with nothing.

        Where is your proof that you searched google and came up with nothing? You have yet to show any evidence of your claim.

        When you have several peer-reviewed citations that you have searched google and come up with nothing, we may take you more seriously.

        Probably not, though.

    • Plus he totally ignored Kevin when he was lost in the Trump Hotel in "Home Alone 2."

      • Plus he totally ignored Kevin when he was lost in the Trump Hotel in "Home Alone 2."

        They're shooting a remake of that scene, with Stormy Daniels playing the part of Macaulay Culkin.

    • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @11:19PM (#55983081) Homepage Journal

      How many times does Trump have to literally extinguish all life on planet earth before you fools listen?

      You literally have no idea what the word 'literally' means, do you?

      Assuming you still live on planet earth, I don't think he has even once 'literally' extinguished all life on the planet...

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @08:54PM (#55982287)
    Cheap Chinese panels were probably going to kill local production. OTOH those cheap panels were getting us off dirty fossil fuels. But OTOOH the reason those Chinese panels are cheap is they don't have much in the way of labor law or environmental regulations. But OTOOOH I don't expect to see much in the way of other tariffs (This one was easy to get through because the coal lobby got Trump elected).
    • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:14PM (#55982397)

      Although economists disagree by how much, the consensus view among economists and economic historians is that "The passage of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff [wikipedia.org] exacerbated the Great Depression.

      The act raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods.

      • now. In the 1920s there was a much, much more even playing field between countries (albeit because just about everywhere was a shithole). Our trade in balance with China & Mexico is almost completely due to the fact that their respective governments and ruling class allow their people to be abused to an extent we no longer allow.

        Also, most historians agree the tariffs made things worse, but I've yet to meet one that thought the tariffs _caused_ the Depression. Generally it was wealth inequality that
      • (1) We're not in a depression. (2) China maintains HUGE tariffs on American solar panels. Why? We're getting fucked on this deal. Time to benefit our own people instead of roll over and let the Chinese win, again. The moment that they let down their tariffs, we'll do ours, too. But not a moment before. Fair play or GTFO.
      • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @12:51AM (#55983423)

        Although economists disagree by how much, the consensus view among economists and economic historians is that "The passage of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff [wikipedia.org] exacerbated the Great Depression.

        The problem with import tariffs is that they're a burden on the many, for the benefit of the few. I don't know about you, but my source of income will in no way increase due to more American workers building solar panels or washing machines, here in the USA. The only thing I'll notice is a higher price at the store on those items.

        Since this is such a great idea, why doesn't the Trump administration just go ahead and tariff the fuck out of imported everything? I'm sure the MAGA crowd will absolutely love it when that South Korean-made TV they were eyeballing for the Superbowl costs twice as much (along with just about everything else at Walmart).

      • Indeed, but think of why.

        If you're depressed and jobless passing a law that increases costs to consumers is like pouring petrol onto a fire to get it to burn better. The reality is if you're trying to help start a fire then the petrol needs to be added before the fire has been lit. The USA still has industries and is currently not in a depression. The passage of the same act in a healthy environment can aid keeping jobs available.

        Like the fire, timing is everything.

    • If in doubt, make it locally. Tariffs would likely stimulate local manufacturing, and then if we own the industry we don't have to worry about what China might do -- that's a step towards energy independence. Solar panels aren't going away.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        These tariffs might actually reduce employment in the US. Think about it, US factories aren't going to employ that many people because they cost too much compared to robots, and anyway robots are better at this sort of thing (no hair/skin contaminating the panels, higher precision and consistency etc.)

        The jobs are in installing solar panels. But if the panels cost more there will be fewer installed. And less on-going maintenance. And less work upgrading the grid to handle the transition. Manufacturing is re

    • by fred911 ( 83970 )

      " Chinese panels are cheap is they don't have much in the way of labor law or environmental regulations"

      Partly, but mostly because the industry is heavily subsidized by the government. It's significantly easier to assure you own the market when you have the ability to sell at a loss to prevent competition (especially when protection of IP isn't an issue). After you own the market, then you control the price.

    • by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @10:36PM (#55982889)

      The American manufacturers aren't going to come in and sell them at the lower price. All that's being done is lower the demand after raising the prices. This is going to put a lot more people who were installing the panels out of work than the number of people who ever going to be employed making them. There are 10,000s people in the US working to install panels and that work can't be outsourced to any other country. Who cares where the panels come from? The cheaper they are, the more projects (residential and industrial) will become viable and started meaning more people employed.

  • Now maybe we can get back to mining coal.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:10PM (#55982377) Journal

    The Obama administration also accused China of cheating on solar panels [latimes.com] via government subsidies; and tariffs were tacked on as punishment. As I understand it, the World Trade Organization agreed that China cheated, but disagreed with the US's remedy.

    While I cannot stand Trump in general, he is sometimes right about trade and visa workers. Just because you are an idiot does not mean you are always wrong. Go 15% of Trump!

    • I'm kind of paraphrasing, but I also recall a list on this site, that Trump may introduce policies that foreign worker visas must be over a certain high wage, ensuring that Americans don't import foreign workers (mainly India) yet pay them peanuts, ensuring that local work is available to Americans.

      A sound policy to be honest, I wish my government would do it

  • by Mspangler ( 770054 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:28PM (#55982463)

    It applies to US produced polysilicon shipped over there.

    The Chinese want a monopoly on PV panels and the entire supply chain, and to that end anything goes. Daqo gets free electricity for one example.

  • Elon Musk must be happy with this news.
    This can't be a bad thing for Tesla who isn't exactly doing it for the coal diggers who backed Trump.
    Solar Roof is made at Telsa's Buffalo Gigafactory isn't it?

  • Would an import tariff like this have saved Solyndra, or was the company just a shell for political contributions.

    • Re: Solyndra (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @11:50PM (#55983227) Homepage Journal

      Solyndra was simply a textbook horrible business plan from beginning to end:

      Built fragile, complex solar panels, in a heavily automated factory, on some of the most expensive land inte world, paying some of the highest wages and taxes, that sold at a premium that way exceeded the slight performance boost their curved design provided over plain, flat Chinese imports.

      Their plan was so obviously horrible that when they applied for a half-billion dollars the analysts could predict, to the month, when Solyndra would go bankrupt - so they denied their federally-secured loan application.

      Then the company 'liberally' donated to President Obama's campaign, theirloan application was approved, and then, as if by magic, Solyndra went bankrupt EXACTLY when the previous administration's analysts predicted!

      Amazing!

  • I can't find statistics quickly enough, but I'll bet that more households go looking for a washing machine each year than go looking to buy solar panels. Let's see what happens when Joe Sixpack notices that the prices have jumped 30%.
  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @09:33AM (#55984885)
    "Trump Administration Approves Tariffs of 30 Percent On Imported Washing Machines"

    And where is the information about the already existing 150 tariffs that these two are going to be added to? Ah... it would spin quite as well that way now would it when we're looking at the actual facts. If we admitted there are already 150 existing tariffs and it hasn't completely flipped trade upside down, we couldn't as easily make it appear as though two additional tariffs would completely destabilize free trade with FUD.

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