Solar panels from Mexico will be subjected to new tariffs in the US. Solar panels from Mexico will be subjected to new tariffs in the US.

MX will fight tariffs on washers, solar panels

US announced tariffs of 20% and 30% on washing machines, solar panels

Mexico has announced it will take legal action against United States President Donald Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on washing machines and solar panels imported into the U.S.

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In a prepared statement released yesterday, the Secretariat of Economy (SE) said that the government “regrets the United States’ decision not to exclude Mexico from the measures” and will “use all legal recourses so that the U.S. complies with its international obligations.”

The agency cited an article from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that provides for compensation in the event that economic safeguards are imposed by one member country on another.

Trump announced yesterday that a 20% tariff will apply to the first 1.2 million large washing machines imported during the first year of the new protectionist scheme. Imports beyond that number will be subjected to a 50% tariff.

The tariffs will decline to 16% and 40% respectively in the third year after their introduction.

Solar panels will initially face a 30% tax before dropping to 15% by the fourth year. However, the scheme will allow 2.5 gigawatts of unassembled solar panels to be imported tariff-free.

Trump said that the tariffs will help U.S. manufacturers and positioned the decision as part of his promise to put American companies and jobs first.

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The chairman of Whirlpool Corporation, Jeff Fettig, subsequently said that the new tariff on washing machines would create new manufacturing jobs in the U.S. states of Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.

But the SE statement questioned the impact of Mexican imports on the competitiveness of U.S. industries.

It pointed to a conclusion reached by the United States International Trade Commission that washing machines exports from Mexico don’t harm the U.S. industry.

It also said that the U.S. washing machine manufacturing industry itself had stated that damage it had suffered due to imports was not related to Mexican-made products.

The SE statement added that the United States’ importation of Mexican solar panels encourages the development of renewable energies, which in turn contribute to a reduction of the use of fossil fuels.

The U.S.-based Solar Energy Industries Association said the new tariff would lead to the delay or cancelation of billions of dollars of investment in the sector and result in 23,000 job losses.

According to data from the United States census bureau, the U.S. imported washing machines worth US $278 million from Mexico in 2016 and solar panels valued at just over US $1.1 billion.

Trump’s announcement of the new tariffs came as Mexico, the United States and Canada are meeting in Montreal, Canada, this week for the penultimate round of NAFTA renegotiation talks.

Source: El Economista (sp), CBS News (en), Reuters (en)

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  • WestCoastHwy

    Mexican assembled solar panels and washing machines. NAFTA is about allowing USA to use Mexican labor/resources for assembling USA corporate products and retailing them back in the USA. China is the primary manufacturer of the assembly parts. Where can you buy a Mabe (Mexican) washing Machine in the USA? This is a bunch of horse sh*t. It’s more about Global Energy Companies fearful of loosing Market Share. If you allow the public to become individual private energy producers just imagine what will happen to the price of a kilowatt. Electric Cars are also the case, if you allow the public to afford an electric car and solar panel, HOLY SH*T will hit the fan!

  • Vickie Rama

    this is just another way trump is cutting Mexico out of anything for the U.S., another racist move on his part. And he doesn’t care who knows it. He came into office with the idea of controlling America and other countries, this is his Hitler Plan, so far it’s going his way, and our own government is allowing it. improts from Mexico and Canada aren’t hurting us at all, if anything it could create more jobs of us. someone please just shoot this bastard and put us all out of misery…

    • gypsyken

      I agree. Trump wants to promote burning of atmosphere-polluting coal instead of solar power, regardless of the fact that burning of coal contributes to the increase in global warming and damages our environment. He must be removed, by any means available, before the damage he is doing becomes irreversible.

  • Mike S

    Trump’s action makes no sense really. There are 260,000 solar jobs in the US- mostly in installation and sales and related equipment. There are about 2000 jobs in factories actually manufacturing the panels. in the US. The two companies making the complaint are foreign owned. If you put tariffs on imported panels, you help the 2000 workers (maybe) and seriously hurt the 260,000 workers and the whole solar industry. Solar panels are almost like a commodity. and their manufacturing is highly automated. If China and other countries want to ramp up production and subsidize their solar panel factories and drive the price down- let them. Why threaten 260,000 jobs and the very real need to shift away from green/clean/renewable energy? It smells like a back room deal with the coal and gas industries who support Trump.

    • kallen

      You’re right – they don’t make sense economically. But if you consider that they’re punitive then they make perfect sense. He needs levers against China and Mexico – that’s the end goal here.

      • Mike S

        My analysis of what Trump is up to with NAFTA and solar panels is as follows:

        From much economic analysis from many very well respected publications, it is generally agreed that of the net 5 million manufacturing jobs lost the last 16 years, 86% were lost due to automation, software,and robotics; 14% were lost to trade. Of that 14%, 7% were lost to China, 4% to Mexico, and 3% to other countries. Lots of jobs were lost to Mexico but also there were lots of jobs gained from that increased trade. The world is changing and we need retraining and a better educated workforce to deal with it. Trump’s ignorant and gullible base is angry about this change. So Trump blames it all on Mexico plus the 6 million illegal Mexican aliens and says it’s all about stupid trade deals his predecessors Obama and Clinton entered into. He presents himself as the knight on the white horse that is going to correct this problem by cracking down on Mexico. Of course this doesn’t jib with reality at all, but it fires up his base. Unlike Chinese, Mexicans are visible everywhere and easy to scapegoat. So now many of the solar panels assembled in Mx and imported into the US will have a 30% tariff which will hurt the much needed solar power business and potentially threaten 260,000 good paying jobs in that industry. As a bonus, the coal & gas business will rally to his support. The man is scum.

  • kallen

    This is future leverage that Trump can use…perhaps to twist Mexico’s arm in all things “wall” related. Mexico should realize Trump is a short-term anomaly. However, by making it personal and not humoring him, Mexico may just put a damper on the longer term relationship.

  • MortimerSnerd

    Mexico is making solar panels? You’d never know it from the prices they charge. Panels that retail for less than .50 cents a watt in the States cost over $2 a watt here in Mexico with the solar companies often installing overpriced and overbuilt turnkey systems often costing tens of thousands. This tax is a sop to the oil, gas and coal industries who are getting worried as they see their markets slowly being eroded by green energy, so they want to put the brakes on it’s adoption. Soon solar hot water systems and electric cars will have a special Trump tax on them at the behest of the oil companies. I have a thermosyphon passive solar hot water system and no longer have to pay the gas man for my hot showers.

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