The news is filled with speculation and consternation about the complaint filed by Solar World claiming that the Chinese are flooding the market with inexpensive PV modules and damaging American manufacturing. The complaint requests that the ITC (international trade commission) put up to a 100% tariff on all Chinese PV modules.
Well, I am all for supporting American module makers, and we typically install “Sharp” modules (made in Memphis). I cannot however agree nor support anyone pushing to slap tarriff’s on our competitors simply because they are good at what they do: competition! Their very success is what brings on the complaint! They are driving the prices down, which is EXACTLY what the solar industry needs.
Remember- this complaint is not about any “theft of ideas” or “corporate theft” or stealing patents. It is simply about the low price of Chinese modules. Any proof of these practices should certainly be investigated and punished. But we most should certainly should NOT punish the Chinese for simply supplying modules cheaper than American manufacturers!
The very LAST thing we need is to start throwing tariff’s on Chinese goods. The losers in this fiasco will be the American consumers. And this “clean energy” market is the very market that the American consumers need to see prices continue to drop.
Tariff’s are always a bad idea. They only protect the “connected.” Their unintended consequences are legion. They cause retaliation and ill will and are certainly a use of “force” when none is necessary. Trade wars cause casualties, and what we need is a mutually cooperative effort to drive down the cost of clean energy, not a multi-national fight.
Think about Iphones. They are designed in America. They are manufactured in Asia. 100% are built in Asia. Should we therefore slap a 100% tariff on them because some manufacturer located in “America” is not producing them? What about flat screen TV’s? No- there is no “right” to produce something in a certain local. If other countries have competitive advantages by all means lets benefit from those advantages.
The only people that this tariff will help will be SolarWorld (a German company with a branch in Oregon) and their co-consipiritors. The rank and file Americans who need and want affordable solar energy will get the “shaft.”
We drafted and sent a letter to Obama. You can read the letter by clicking on the link or the image of the letter to the right.
I don’t know if he even reads letters like this, but I know he received it.
Keep looking up!