Trump’s tariffs may spare Chinese inverters—at least for now

Trump has agreed to leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product—of which solar inverters are a part—at 10%, and not raise it to 25% starting January.


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A White House statement released December 01st states that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to suspend further trade action for 90 days to continue negotiations.

The two parties think they could reach a deal on “structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture” in the next 90 days.

As per the statement, Trump agreed he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product—of which solar inverters are a part—at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent, starting January 1, 2019.

CEO and president of SEIA Abigail Ross Hopper, welcomed the news saying it is good in the short term but leaves many questions for other tariffed solar equipment.

“While this temporary truce is good news, the structural issues at the heart of the dispute will be difficult to resolve in 90 days,” she said.

“Indeed, to date, China has made no indication that it is prepared to adopt any of the structural changes sought by the Trump Administration,” she added. “The solar industry should also recognize that any U.S.-China agreement would likely only cover the Section 301 tariffs, and not the Section 201 tariffs (cells and modules), Section 232 tariffs (steel and aluminum), or antidumping and countervailing duties.”

Trump had imposed tariffs of 30 percent on imported solar cells and modules in what is being described as a move to protect US industry while signaling a more aggressive stance towards China.

The move has been considered by some as a “major blow” to the $28 billion solar industry, which imports around 80 percent of its solar panel products.

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