Trump administration rejects alternatives to solar tariffs

Credit: Dennis Schroeder/DOE

Given a chance to backtrack on imposing shortsighted solar tariffs, the United States instead doubled down and rejected alternative measures offered by the European Union, according to a recent report by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Back in January, President Trump undermined clean energy and hampered one of the nation's fastest-growing employment sectors when he slapped tariffs on the import of solar components. According to the WTO, the EU offered less drastic options, like quotas by country or minimum prices, but the United States held firm. Safeguard measures like tariffs are permitted by the WTO, but only if the targeted imports are causing serious harm to the country—which solar panels are not—and only if the nation imposing the tariffs compensates its trading partners with imports of other goods. Prior to the tariffs, America's solar industry was growing at a remarkable 68 percent annually. Trump's decision, which was criticized on both sides of the aisle in Congress, highlights the illogic of the president's energy policy: He claims to support industry, but only those sectors that align with his fossil fuel agenda.

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