Solar Panels, Washing Machines Hit With Trump's Tariffs

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The White House approved the 30% "safeguard" levy on imported solar cells and modules following the recommendations from USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer, who claimed that increased imports from areas such as China are creating "substantial" and "serious" damge to domestic manufacturers.

The original tariff puts a 30% levy on imported cells and modules that arrive into the USA during the first 12 months of the ruling.

"It created a real cloud of ambiguity because we didn't know if the tariffs were going to be retroactive, how they were going to be implemented, and the severity of them", Steve Kasselman, President and CEO of Kasselman Solar, said.

Specifically, the Trump Administration has announced that the tariffs will apply to solar panels and washing machines manufactured outside of the US. "Residential solar costs have come down significantly across the industry over the last five years and we expect those cost declines to continue, despite tariffs".

Solar panel importers will have to pay the tariff for four years.

Whirlpool, which sought the washers "safeguard" action against rivals Samsung and LG after years of anti-dumping cases, saw its shares rise 1.8pc in after-hours trade. "This is a step forward for this high-tech solar manufacturing industry we pioneered right here in America". The tariffs on solar products start after the first 2.5 gigawatts worth of imports at 30 percent in the first year, and falling to 15 percent by the fourth year.

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"SolarWorld Americas appreciates the hard work of President Trump, the U.S. Trade Representative, and this administration in reaching today's decision, and the President's recognition of the importance of solar manufacturing to America's economic and national security".

"President Trump says his intention is to save jobs, but the specifics show this decision is a job killer", said John Rogers, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Companies that install solar panels and import the parts are most likely to suffer.

The new tariffs will cause the loss of about 23,000 American jobs and the cancellation or delay of billions of dollars in solar investment, the group said in a statement.

A green-technology research firm estimates that tariffs could cost up to 88,000 related to installing solar-power systems, according to This tariff is a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine.