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Trump green lights foreign solar equipment tariffs

President Trump approved four years of solar tariffs to be imposed on solar equipment made outside of the US; the tariffs will be at a rate of 30% in the first year and 15% thereafter, with an exemption for the first 2.5 gigawatts each year. In October 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission determined that imported solar equipment was harming American manufacturers and consequently recommended tariffs at a rate of 35%. Although the tariffs that President Trump ultimately imposed were at a lower rate, the “idea behind the tariffs is to raise the costs of cheap imports, particularly from Asia, and level the playing field for those who manufacture the parts domestically.” Although the President has broad authority with regard to the details of the tariffs, foreign countries that will be affected, like China and South Korea, may challenge the decision at the World Trade Organization, (“which has rebuffed prior U.S.-imposed tariffs”). Although many domestic manufacturers of solar equipment support the tariffs, some environmentalists see the tariffs as “recklessly irresponsible and a thinly veiled attack on clean energy.”

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