China has this week filed complaints with the World Trade Organization seeking talks on compensation with the United States for the recent tariffs that President Donald Trump signed off on for imported solar cells and modules and washing machines.
Toward the end of January, after 9 months of uncertainty throughout the US solar industry, US President Donald Trump agreed to impose a 30% tariff on all imported solar cells and modules, as well as washing machines (the two decisions were not connected, but the decision was made at the same time). The move is expected to significantly constrain the US solar industry, with job losses expected to be in the range of 23,000 in the first year alone, and installations to be cut by 11% over five years. GTM Research predicts that the US solar industry will be hit hard in 2018 and 2019, but that steady growth will keep the industry ticking along — even if said growth is less than it would have been pre-tariffs.
The lion’s share of the focus has been on what the tariff will do to the US solar industry — understandably when you consider the already-mentioned impacts — but China on Tuesday filed complaints with the World Trade Organization seeking talks on compensation from the United States for the tariffs they have imposed on both solar cells and modules, and washing machines.
According to the filings, China contends that the United States decision to impose such steep tariffs “are not consistent with its obligations under the relevant provisions of” the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), and the Safeguards Agreement.
The two filings made by China (G/SG/149 and G/SG/150) are virtually identical except for any industry-specific differences (solar versus washing machines). Both filings also explain that “In accordance with Article 8.1 of the Safeguards Agreement, China also is exercising its right to trade compensation consultations.”
The outcome of these filings is uncertainty, though one outcome is clear: China continues to challenge the United States’ position as the leading economic nation, and is not going to let President Donald Trump bully them around from his newfound position of power.