ITC Hearing Discusses Merits and Woes of Solar Panel Tariffs

The International Trade Commission hosted a public hearing this morning to discuss grounds for possible tariffs on Asian solar imports. Two U.S. solar manufacturing powerhouses, Suniva Inc. and SolarWinds of Americas have officially called foul on “cheap foreign parts from Asia,” for causing “serious injury” to their domestic business.

What’s at stake?

U.S. Companies: Calling for protections necessary to revive a once thriving, job producing domestic industry that is now a “shell of its former self.”

Opponents: Imposing tariffs on imports could destroy thousands of solar installation jobs, among other necessary to the industry.

Matt Card, an executive of Suniva provided a cautionary statement, warning without tariffs put into place, the U.S. will “have no control of its own destiny when it comes to power generation from the sun.” Opposition to the petition has been raised from a cross-section, including union officials, venture capitalists, bipartisan groups in the House and Senate, State elected officials (ALEC member Jason Saine of North Carolina included) and The American Legislative Exchange Council, throwing support of free markets into the ring.

Director of the ALEC Center for Innovation and Technology Sarah Hunt offered her take on the matter in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “The government should not be expected to bail out a few companies that just couldn’t compete,” said Hunt. This statement questions to why these two solar manufacturers are now victims, when not too long ago they were the front runner of the solar industry. Are they truly casualties of foul trade practices, or are they calling foul on Asia because they found themselves on the losing end of market competition? Taking it one step further, is this simply a gambit to keep their competition from playing on their turf?

In Depth: Energy

It is difficult – and perhaps even impossible – to overstate the relationship between readily available access to safe, affordable and reliable energy and individual prosperity and economic wellbeing. This is because energy is an input to virtually everything we produce, consume and enjoy in society. Think for a minute…

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