Trump Administration Issues 30% Solar Panel Import Tariff

The White House announced that President Trump has issued a 30 percent year-one tariff on imported solarcells and modules.  Tariffs will decline over a four-year period. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported cells are excluded from the additional tariff in each of those four years, according to the U.S. Trade Representative fact sheet.

The USTR noted that China’s industrial planning “has included a focus on increasing Chinese capacity and production of solar cells and modules, using state incentives, subsidies, and tariffs to dominate the global supply chain. As a result of these state-directed initiatives, China’s share of global solar cell production skyrocketed from 7 percent in 2005 to 61 percent in 2012. China currently produces 60 percent of the world’s solar cells and 71 percent of solar modules, according to the fact sheet. Over this period, the U.S. solar manufacturing industry “almost disappeared,” the USTR stated, with 25 companies closing since 2012.

While the administration’s fact sheet centered on China, it is not the only country affected. Section 201 trade cases are intended to apply globally, and today’s fact sheet makes no mention of tariff exemptions for specific countries or for any companies. However, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a statement that he will engage in additional negotiations, which could potentially lead to tariff exclusions or changes for certain parties.

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