Solar Tariffs…Friend or Foe

From the result of the May, 2012 ruling by U.S. trade officials to slap tariffs on Chinese solar imports that have shipped since February 2012, small US solar firms are having to pay some $100 million in retroactive tariffs—unless they get them overturned. In some cases, the tariffs amount to 2 or 3 times the original costs of the panels. The tariffs were placed in response to US solar panel manufacturers who said that unfairly priced Chinese panels, subsidized by the Chinese government,  have led to the loss of about 2,000 American jobs. But this pits US solar manufacturers against US panel installers, who say the tariffs could lead to the loss of 60,000 American jobs.  Both the tariffs and retroactive duties are preliminary. Decisions will be made next month independently by the Department of Commerce and in November by the US International Trad Commission to uphold, or partly or fully strike down the tariffs. Meantime, fallout will likely dampen trade in Chinese solar panels and the US solar installation market.


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