The future looks less sunny for the renewable energy industry after the Trump administration announced this week that it plans to tax solar panels manufactured abroad.
The announcement, which came from the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer late Monday, took aim at Chinese solar panel producers, whom the administration says have been selling their goods in the United States for less than their fair market value.
As a result of a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S. will now impose duties of up to 30 percent on solar equipment manufactured abroad. Such a move could damage the $28 billion solar energy industry. Eighty percent of the parts used in the U.S. solar industry are imported, and the Solar Energy Industries Association had previously projected job losses in the tens of thousands amid months of uncertainty about tax hikes.
But solar panel manufacturers aren’t the only ones at the receiving end of Trump’s new tariffs. Washing machines made by South Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG were deemed “a substantial cause of serious injury” to U.S. manufacturers in the ITC report. In the first year, those products will face a 20 percent tariff on the initial 1.2 million washers imported and a 50 percent tariff on all machines after that. Those tariffs will eventually decrease to 16 and 40 percent, respectively, in three years.
Samsung is understandably unhappy by the recent announcement, which is in part the product of a Whirlpool complaint made against the South Korean companies.
A Samsung spokesperson told CNET on Monday, “Today’s announcement is a great loss for American consumers and workers. This tariff is a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine. Everyone will pay more, with fewer choices.”
The ITC report targets Chinese solar panel manufacturers nearly nine months after Suniva and SolarWorld, companies based in China and Germany, respectively, claimed that low-cost Chinese manufacturers were unfairly competing.
Time reports that the increased tariffs may be challenged by China and South Korea at the World Trade Organization, which has previously refused U.S.-imposed tariffs. The solar industry may also attempt to appeal the tariffs to Congress, though success in that appeal is thought to be unlikely.
“Trump wants to show he’s tough on trade, so whatever duties or quotas he imposes will stick, whatever individual senators or congressmen might say,” Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told Time via email.