Trump tariffs: Some solar jobs saved, some jobs destroyed

Initially, when the United States was trying to protect solar industry manufacturing jobs from foreign competition, things did not really go well as per the planning.

Chinese solar panel makers circumvented U.S. tariffs by relocating to Taiwan, and the Chinese government prevented with its own charges on U.S. exports of the raw material used in making the panels — leading American manufacturers to put off more than 1,000 mechanics and scrap a new $1.2 billion factory of their own.

According to the President, the solar division, and a related move next to the imported washing machines, draw a big move approaching to fulfill his operations pledges to get tough on trading allies same as China.

The polysilicon industry serves as a cautionary tale of what can be happening when trade comptrollers adopt steps designed to guard mechanics in one corner of the economy only to see them boomerang elsewhere.

“There’s always a risk of tit-for-tat retaliation, particularly with China. . . . It’s a warning shot: Don’t do this too often,” says economist Douglas Irwin, author of “Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy.”

Trump tariffs: Some solar jobs saved, some jobs destroyed

Trump’s tariffs can be progressing the way for such a contracted bargain. Lighthizer’s formal tariff announcement promised to open “discussions among interested parties” toward that goal.

Most interpreters have stated that Trump has long been fixated on forcing tariffs as a presentation of the muscular new course in trade policy that he is mapping.

“Politicians like to say they’re going to bat for a particular group of people and like to look tough,” said Daniel Ikenson, trade policy analyst at the nonpartisan Cato Institute. “What’s harder to see is there are costs . . . and they are real.”

No U.S. industry has tried permission protection for 17 years when the steel industry pleaded for help to the Bush White House.

Bush lifted the tariffs 15 years from now after the WTO commissioned the European Union to counter for the improper duties with more than $2 billion in levies on U.S. imports.