January 11, 2018

A bipartisan group that shares many of President Donald Trump's populist goals on trade is urging the president to impose a "global tariff" on solar imports from China and other foreign suppliers in a case brought by Suniva and SolarWorld. Trump is due to announce his decision in the closely watched trade remedy case by Jan. 26, which is about when he will be in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum.

[Doug Palmer | January 11, 2018 | Politico]

"U.S. producers developed solar technology and have been at the forefront of solar technological innovation for years," Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, said in a letter sent to Trump on Wednesday. "We need to stand up for this industry like we did for semiconductors back in the 1990s, and keep research and development and critical technological know-how in the United States. Indeed, it was trade relief that permitted the U.S. semiconductor industry to stay on top back then, and it is trade relief that will allow the U.S. solar manufacturing industry to stay alive and thrive now."

The coalition's board of directors is led by Dan DiMicco, chairman emeritus of Nucor Steel Corp. He was one of Trump's trade advisers during the 2016 campaign. Like Trump, the group puts a strong emphasis on reducing the trade deficit. It also takes credit for helping to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump pulled out of on his third day in office.

Opponents of steep solar tariffs or quotas say those actions could destroy more jobs in the solar installation sector than it saves among U.S. manufacturers.

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