Solar Tariffs Could Lead To An International Economic Shake Up

The Trump administration has recently decided to levy tariffs on imports of solar modules to the United States. This cam after some module manufacturers in the United States complained that the cheap cost of foreign technology, often driven even lower due to government subsidies, were making it impossible for them to compete on such a lopsided playing field. The tariff tacks on 30% of the panels cost as it comes into the country in an attempt to give domestic manufacturers more of a chance to compete. Similar tariffs against washing machines were also put into place at the same time as the solar tariffs. The countries hit hardest by this decision include both China and South Korea. The United States already had tariffs against Chinese solar modules in place causing them to move many of their operations to nearby South Korea. This could ultimately lead to strained relationships between the United States and these two countries in a time when an alliance between the three is more important than ever. Some sources indicate that China and South Korea could take their claims to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO would likely take years to make a ruling in the case however and given that the tariffs are only set for a four year time frame they may end up having little to no impact on the issue. Some fear that this could lead to an all out trade war which in the end would benefit no one and lead to economic decline for all countries involved. Only time will tell what the outcome of these economic decisions will be both at home and abroad.

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