back to article President Trump turns out the lights on solar panel imports into US

US President Donald Trump has signed an order to place a 30 per cent tariff on the import of parts used to build solar panels. The new charges, pitched on Monday by the White House as relief for domestic manufacturers, are instead being slammed by US solar industry groups as an effort to destroy the solar energy market in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A stopped clock is correct twice daily

    In this case I suppose Twitler is actually doing a good thing.

    That doesn't change the fact that he's a fuckwit.

    1. John Gamble

      Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

      If you believe this sort of protectionism helps, it might have worked ten or twelve years ago. Now, when it's too late? All it's doing is hobbling a growing industry.

      This move only makes sense if your goal is to prop up the coal industry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

        I'm not sure why the goal has to be to prop up coal.

        Tariffs on government subsidized chinese panels being dumped here could be used to offset tax breaks to domestic panel production. (Much like what I believe Germany has been doing to protect its industrial base.) As if domestic production of PV panels could be spun up in any kind of useful timeframe.

        If you couldn't connect the dots between tariffs offsetting tax breaks on domestic panel production, what do you suppose were the odds that Twitler could have made the connection.

        Next to none is my guess.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

          I'm not sure why the goal has to be to prop up coal.

          No-one else is either, if the US could get back to us and explain that one it would be super.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tariffs on government subsidized chinese panels being dumped here

          It's got nothing to do with anything being dumped here. We're talking about the USA.

          theregister.CO.UK Motherfucker!!!!

          1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

            Re: Tariffs on government subsidized chinese panels being dumped here

            "theregister.CO.UK Motherfucker!!!!"

            Too much coffee?

            1. Chemical Bob

              Re: Tariffs on government subsidized chinese panels being dumped here

              Probably road tar...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Too much coffee?

              Crappy attempt at a Die Hard reference, actually.

      2. Faux Science Slayer

        "Green Prince of Darkness" at FauxScienceSlayer

        Wind turbines and photovoltaics are unsustainable eco trinkets that never produce a fraction

        of the fossil fuel investment to mine, refine and produce these elitist tricks....

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

      It's thinking long term.

      This boosts coal and LNG use.

      So increases global warming

      So makes solar more viable for the rest of us

      Hats off to our selfless cousins for thinking of future generations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

        So makes solar more viable for the rest of us

        Except it isn't - you need a grid connection for when the sun don't shine.

        Friends have a massive bank of panels that were calculated to supply enough power for the house and charge a room full of batteries because they are far from any power lines. They have always had to run a diesel generator to get any real work done.

      2. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

        Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

        "This boosts coal and LNG use.

        So increases global warming

        So makes solar more viable for the rest of us"

        I'd expect the increase in smog and cloud cover to have the opposite effect on solar power.

      3. Jonathan Richards 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

        OK, I detect the sarcasm, but

        > So makes solar more viable for the rest of us

        is a non sequitur.

        Global warming does not mean more solar energy reaching any particular solar panel. The sun (we trust) will continue to shine next year just as it does today. There could be more clouds generated by warm seas, though, and the warm seas will fuel hurricanes that may rip the panels off roofs and solar farms, and the sea level will continue to rise, and so on. Global warming is not good. For anything. I reckon we can agree on that.

  2. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Hmmm...I wonder how many millions were given to Trump and his minions by the electric generating industry? And the natural gas industry. And the coal industry.

    1. fandom Silver badge

      Hmmmm.... I wonder how many millions were given to Trump and his minions by Tesla?

      Hey! This is great, the 'Hmmmm' does make me sound smart, doesn't it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .I wonder how many millions

      were given to Obama and his minions by the electric generating industry? And the natural gas industry.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I suppose that someone told him that "all the manufacturers have to do is ramp up production of the panels"? Yeah.. easy-peasy.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sunshine needed

    Chinese solar companies are engaged in subsidized dumping. A response is warranted and Trump has chosen to respond with tariffs. Strange that neither the words "subsidy" or "dumping" appear anywhere in the article.

    Yes, this should have happened under Obama, but it did not. Good thing we have a president now that actually cares about his oath of office.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Sunshine needed

      SO protecting the planet by subsidizing panels is bad how?

      Trump just hates the planet, along with all its supporters, and you know it

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sunshine needed

        This has nothing to do with whether subsidizing panels is bad or good.

        He just wants to create a domestic manufacturing and assembly of solar panels instead of importing parts and just assemble domestically or just shifting boxes from china. IMHO he is correct to protect his domestic workforce. Europeans should do the same. Because as of now, profits disappear in the pockets of a small number of greedy western bosses, a lot more Chinese bosses, a little bit to the Chinese workforce and another chunk to the Chinese government (through direct or indirect taxation). Chinese workers then spend that income again on Chinese consumer products as they usually don't buy Western manufactured goods (which are heavily taxed in China).

        In the mean time our manufacturing workforce has sunk into poverty. Some jobs have been recovered with artificially created shitty jobs (mostly dubious servicing and unneeded administrative functions) with the result of massive burn-out and other stress related problems. Which further burden our society with medical costs and pushes people further and further into despair.

        The problem here is that many greedy company-"leaders" need to take responsibility for the mess THEY created! And this is ONE step. Unfortunately this usually has an adverse effect as "leaders" seek ways to circumvent their responsibility instead of investing some of the money they earned back into society. People shouldn't target Trump because he wants to keep jobs locally. They should be happy that someone is at least trying to keep lower income jobs also domestic. Americans could help him too by only buying US-manufactured solar panels (and other consumer products).

        In e.g. South Korea something like shouldn't even raise questions as the Korean government heavily taxes foreign products, heavily promotes (read: subsidises) domestic manufacturing and therefore Koreans buy Korean manufactured products. I doubt that there is much poverty and unemployment in South Korea.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sunshine needed

          "IMHO he is correct to protect his domestic workforce"

          Abstractly, that is is correct.

          However ... slapping a massive tariff on imported parts overnight doesn't achieve this. This firstly destroys the domestic installer market who can no longer install panels at an affordable price, quickly killing off the customer base.

          This quickly destroys the market that the domestic manufacturing market needs to grow enough to achieve economies of scale and profitability.

          Remember it will take time for the domestic manufactiring sector to respond and ramp up production.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sunshine needed

        "SO protecting the planet by subsidizing panels is bad how?"

        Because they dont.

        When will you learn to rtll product marketing from real science?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sunshine needed

      if that was the case the USA should have appealed to the WTC.

      If that was the case, China should take the USA to the WTC and sue for compensation.

    3. Long John Brass Silver badge

      Re: Sunshine needed

      neither the words "subsidy" or "dumping" appear anywhere

      Sorry I don't understand why this is an issue; If the Chinese Govt wants to subsidise panels to the rest of the world how is that a bad thing? Just buy up the cheep Chinese panels and go hog wild installing em everywhere. One of two things happen; Either the Chinese government go broke or they don't; Either way we all get cheep panels.

      Who exactly looses here? US manufacturers of solar panels? Are there a lot of those?

      Still on the bright side; If US sales of imported solar panels drops, the reset of us might get an even bigger discount :)

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Sunshine needed

        @Long John Brass - Chinese subsidizing their solar panel industry does a couple of things. It allows the Chinese to sell below actual manufacturing costs thus undermining a local industry. Thus the victim country has a few choices: slap a tariff on Chinese panels, let the domestic industry whither, or subsidize the domestic industry. The least disruptive is probably a tariff if rebuilding the domestic industry is a priority.

        1. Long John Brass Silver badge

          Re: Sunshine needed

          let the domestic industry whither, or subsidise the domestic industry

          Which is why the global price for solar panels cost/watt were at rock bottom and the glut in the global market for US manufactured solar panels was at epic levels....

          Or just perhaps; As the Chinese manufacturing levels increased, that has driven down the cost/watt to a level where they are actually becoming a viable option for some domestic supply?

      2. Manu T

        Re: Sunshine needed

        "...One of two things happen; Either the Chinese government go broke or they don't..."

        First. Governments don't go broke. People do. Political leaders always have a better lifestyle than the rest of their population. Whether in China or in the US.

        Secondly it's not is simple as that. The Chinese KNOW that greedy westerners buy their cheap subsidised panels so the subsidised money flows back into the government through sales tax, corporate (25%) and personal taxes (45%) and social security rates (48%). Many of these taxes are based on personal or company income and because these Chinese companies have higher revenues they pay more taxes and thus the subsidy turns into profit. As long as they keep exporting in vast quantities the Chinese government earns big bucks from panels installed in the USA and Europe.

        If Trump manage to keep production (not just assembly) local. The US government gets more taxes through local sales tax (which they already have depending on state even with imported panels) but also with higher corporate taxes (as companies have more revenue) and with more people having jobs a higher income of personal income tax (which is the highest tax-rate in the US at almost 40%). Personal income tax in Europe is at +50% in most countries and corporate tax is mostly around (24%) so it's obviously better to keep unemployment as low as possible to generate as much "presonal income tax" as possible as this is a major income of governments.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Sunshine needed

          "The Chinese KNOW that greedy westerners buy their cheap subsidised panels so the subsidised money flows back into the government through sales tax, corporate (25%) and personal taxes (45%) and social security rates (48%). Many of these taxes are based on personal or company income and because these Chinese companies have higher revenues they pay more taxes and thus the subsidy turns into profit."

          All fine except for one little detail: if these panels are being dumped below cost it's gradually draining money out of the system.

        2. Blotto Bronze badge

          Re: Sunshine needed

          @Manu T

          Care to elaborate just where in Europe has personal income tax greater than 50%?

          If the Chinese model of subsidy and tax is so great then why doesn’t the USA just do the same?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sunshine needed

        s/cheep/cheap/g

        s/loose/lose/g

    4. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: we have a president now that actually cares about his oath of office

      You have a president who doesn't understand his oath of office.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: we have a president now that actually cares about his oath of office

        Just an oaf about the office

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Sunshine needed

      president now that actually cares about his oath of office

      If he can remember the words. Doubtless one of his carers will be on hand for the difficult bits..

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Maybe I don't understand how this works

    If China is subsidizing solar cells, wouldn't the proper response be for the US government be to purchase as many as possible? We'd have a nice surplus of cheap solar cells ready for when China ends the subsidy. (Then quietly steal all the trade secrets from China and build them locally.)

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Maybe I don't understand how this works

      It's because its a false narrative. China don't subsidise PV manufacture, they subsidise PV installations connected to their grid via a Feed In Tariff, just like the rest of the world. This has stimulated their PV panel construction industry to invest in more efficient production.

      Here is an excellent article on the subject; basically US was the world leader in PV panel production, China invested huge amounts to satisfy their own demand (>50% of chinese made panels are not exported) and the US did not.

      Their solution is tariffs, so that everything is more expensive for the consumer, and the inevitable total collapse of US PV exports as the rest of the world ignores them

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe I don't understand how this works

        USG are allowing a few [<3GW] of modules in , before the 30% duty is applied.

        I think, and I may be wrong, that there's an energy revolution coming - based on cheap renewables with the offered December 2017 bid price (eventually not chosen) @KSA <1,8cts/KWh LCOE for a multi megawatt plant north of Riyadh. That is a staggering price = revolution!

        BTW the sovereign US also imposed Tariffs on Washing Machines with the same PV act

        1. Chronos Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Maybe I don't understand how this works

          BTW the sovereign US also imposed Tariffs on Washing Machines with the same PV act

          Arsenoise probably thinks that will stop money laundering through foreign investment...

          I'll get me coat.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe I don't understand how this works

      "...wouldn't the proper response be for the US government be to purchase as many as possible..."

      No. Because the US government would increase the revenue of Chinese companies who'd get taxed for corporate tax, and their workers would get income taxed, by the Chinese government thus US tax-money flows into the Chinese treasury. It's better to increase taxation of imported products and spend THAT money into local manufacturing of competing products thus subdising domestic products.

      Then export those cheap US manufactured solar panels back into China....

      "..Then quietly steal all the trade secrets from China and build them locally..."

      I doubt China has many "trade secrets" since they "stole" it all from western countries.

      With "stole" I don't literally mean that they sent spies to actually steal them (though this might have happened in a few occasions in the past). I mean that western companies "gave" the trade secrets to some Chinese manufacturer to let him/her set-up a manufacturing and assembly plant.

      You know that the father o/t solar cell is a Frenchman. So what do the "French", or shall we say... Euro zone competitors, have to "steal"?

      1. Blotto Bronze badge

        Re: Maybe I don't understand how this works

        @ac

        What you do t seem to understand is that if imported parts go up 30% then domestic parts will go up in price too as consumers now have no choice. Domestic manufacturers will be in a race to charge more as the price ceiling is now whatever the imported price is. Buy the import or the domestic with a flag sticker stating designed and made in the USA, if both are the same price people will buy yank. If the yank product is cheaper people will think it’s inferior to the Chinese model.

        The losers will be the workers in the industry and their customers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe I don't understand how this works

          "The losers will be the workers in the industry and their customers."

          And the winners will be all those people whose electricity prices are massively inflated by heavily subsidised 'renewable energy' and massively taxed fossil fuel.

          Remember: Renewable energy is a massively expensive solution that doesn't work to a problem that doesn't exist.

          Don't confuse reality with top class marketing.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Maybe I don't understand how this works

            > Remember: Renewable energy is a massively expensive solution that doesn't work to a problem that doesn't exist.

            That is obviously coal and oil industry dogma and propaganda.

            In this country most of our electricity comes from renewable hydro and geothermal power. It works fine and isn't as expensive as the small number of gas plants that we have. There are also some wind farms - built because they produce electricity much cheaper and the hydro can take over if the wind drops.

  6. SBU

    Chinese solar companies are engaged producing polution.

    Chinese solar companies are manufacturing solar cells that are of obsolete design and whose total lifecycle energy cost is about equivalent to the total lifespan energy output. The environmental damage from the manufacturing process is huge.

    By ensuring these Chinese cells are not dumped in the US it become much more viable for advanced technology (such as sliver cells) to be produced in the US. The environmental cost will be reduced, the TCO of solar installations will be reduced and the more advanced cells being produced will be far more energy positive that the imported ones.

    Chinese solars cells are little more than frozen coal powered electricity and are not helping the environment one iota. By adding these tariffs the net effect is an improvement to the environment. Win, win, win.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chinese solar companies are engaged producing polution.

      But, but, I was given to understand that Trump just hates the planet!?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chinese solar companies are engaged producing polution.

        No he doesn't.

        He wants to: "make America great again!" Which is a part of this planet in case you haven't noticed. :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chinese solar companies are engaged producing polution.

        "But, but, I was given to understand that Trump just hates the planet!?"

        Not really, but even so, its better than someone who hates the people, isn't it?

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Chinese solar companies are engaged producing polution.

      Chinese solar companies are manufacturing solar cells that are of obsolete design

      Not sure if it is design or just manufacturing methods, but it's a fact - a lot of them are down to ~ 20% in 4 years time which defeats the point of using them.

      By adding these tariffs the net effect is an improvement to the environment. Win, win, win.

      No. It is a "Trump Win(TM)" - half baked exec order with a Tw*tter level attention span. Same as the travel bans.

      If the goal was to really kill the import of deliberately obsolete panels the tariff should have been 100%, bound to specific technological parameters and formulated so that let's say 70% are put into recycling escrow and only 30% are punitive.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coming soon: "Patriot Coal" [TM]

    Patriot Coal is only 6000 years old!

    Contains no evidence of fossils or evolution.

    Less science, more Jesus.

  8. Nick Kew Silver badge

    WTO Rules?

    China may be a convenient scapegoat, but this affects manufacturers around the world who might seek to sell to the USA[1]. Including ours here in Blighty - and yes, we have at least one pure-play manufacturer of polysilicon wafers for the solar industry big enough to be FTSE-listed.

    Is this what international trade under WTO rules looks like?

    [1] Unless the article is misreporting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTO Rules?

      It is misreporting. This trade dispute is not new, and official complaints are on record for some years now. Trump wants to see US industry thrive and doesn't care for China's tactics, unlike Obama, who was just peachy about them.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Side Effects

        At least one other site is reporting that this move will probably lead to 23,000 job losses and increase the price of residential PV by around $1000 per house.

        I guess that is a good deal for the average voter then....?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Side Effects

          Yep. Anything that stops peole putting solar panels on the roof benefits ordinary people who can't, in terms of reduced electricity prices.

  9. DougS Silver badge

    Not going to matter in the long run

    Maybe Trump really did this to protect nearly non-existent US solar panel manufacturing, but more likely he did it at the behest of his coal buddies who are upset that wind and solar are becoming price competitive with coal (and natural gas is much cheaper) It would be in line with other things his administration has done to help out that dying industry like relax the rules that try to prevent coal ash spill disasters like the one in North Carolina a couple years ago.

    However, panel prices are only about a third of the cost of utility scale PV installations, so a 30% tariff will only raise the price of utility scale installs by 10% - turn the clock back a few years at most. It would have even less effect on the total price of residential installs, where the relatively larger labor component means panel prices are even less of the total cost.

    It would save money for the US overall to quit trying to protect the dying coal industry, and simply pay a pension to those who have been working in the mines for so long they are too old to retrain, and retrain the rest who knew going in working in the coal mines wouldn't be something they'd still be doing at retirement age. Also offer some federal economic incentives for businesses to relocate to coal country like West Virginia to diversify their economies.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Not going to matter in the long run

      You're right: it's tokenism. Nothing will save coal as long as shale production is so cheap. But the fuckwits in the Appalachians are too dumb to realise this and will continue to think he's "on their side". Trump wants right-wingers to win the primaries in the run up to the mid-terms so he has a House full of single-issue loons.

  10. RobertLongshaft

    If only we had a Prime Minister who did was he said like Trump. America first means America first.

    Build those pannels in America using American workers and there is no problem, use cheap third world labour to construct them and face a tariff.

    Of course the liberal screeching autistic left will use anything to try and score points against him but look at the facts - the economy is booming, jobs are flying back into America from overseas and he's even brought the democrats to heel over the government shutdown.

    By the way, if anyone wants to win some easy money, when the fake news and fake polls have Trump with no chance to win in the next US Presidential election put your house on it. He's an absolute certainty.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Of course the liberal screeching autistic left will use anything to try and score points against him

      If anybody is ADHD, it is the Orange Baboon. It is possible to nudge a economy in a particular direction by applying tariffs. It, however requires a combination of stick (tariffs), carrot (manufacturing subsidies) which are specifically formulated so that they do not violate the law.

      It is not difficult. All that was needed was to specifically target types of panels known for their timed obsolescence and do it on environmental grounds. Do not even frame that as tariff - make it "environmental protection tax" - for recycling purposes.

      Unfortunately, this kind of stuff requires non-toddler levels of thought and does not fit into an immediate gratification mindset. So rather unsurprisingly we do not see it.

      If only we had a Prime Minister - You mean our our own immediate gratification Kipling reciting hair disorganized dolt of Turkish immigrant origin. No thanks. Him becoming prime minister? Most of us are not keen on the country being run like "We Got Old News For You". It gets unfunny after a while.

      1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

        "Kipling reciting hair disorganized dolt of Turkish immigrant origin"

        You were doing so well up to the "Turkish immigrant" part of your comment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You were doing so well up to the "Turkish immigrant" part of your comment.

          If you are going to quote the FULL likeness of "The Beloved Quasi-Idiot" versus his transatlantic counterpart you need to emphasize on the key detail. THEY ARE BOTH DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF IMMIGRANTS. The sole difference is that while Scotland MPs have apologized in the house of Commons for gifting the world with a Donald, Erdogan is yet to do so (it's a fact - it takes a big P stick to make him say the S word)

          It is quite entertaining to listen to their anti-immigration rhetoric. Both of them. Shouldn't he be threatening us with "My compatriots will come, flood the country and take your jobs" if he is really honest about it (I am referring to Boris talking about Turkey joining the Eu in the run-up to BrExit).

          Additionally, in the specific case of our dear Kipling quoting Turkish Empire bureaucrat descendant, I suggest you look up the meaning of Rayah. Yep, that's you and me as far as he is concerned and it shows.

      2. RobertLongshaft

        "If anybody is ADHD, it is the Orange Baboon".

        Really, and what qualifies YOU to make that diagnosis? An over inflated view of your own pompous and self righteous opinions?

        "Most of us are not keen on the country being run like "We Got Old News For You". It gets unfunny after a while."

        Perhaps you missed it but we had a vote on your liberal EU utopia, most of were not keen on the country being ran by the pseudo marxist cabal of the EU. Do keep up, or feel free to move. I hear Sweden is wonderful (rape capital of the western world).

        1. ravenviz

          what qualifies YOU to make that diagnosis?

          Freedom of speech.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Freedom of speech.

            Freedom of speech allows anyone to make a diagnosis. It certainly doesn't qualify them. It's just another case of arseholes and opinions like every other comment here. Except mine.

            1. TomG

              Re: Freedom of speech.

              Etatdame; Freedom of speech allows one to express an OPINION, not diagnose an illness.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I see Big John's long lost UK cousin has joined us...

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Wonder what the effect will be in the rest of the world?

    If this means China will sell the panels even cheaper in Europe, I'm all for it... Maybe pave my entire roof with the dirt-cheap panels, and enjoy the free electricity :-)

    1. Robert Moore

      Re: Wonder what the effect will be in the rest of the world?

      I hope you are right. Because I was going to look into solar here in Canada in the spring.

    2. TomG

      Re: Wonder what the effect will be in the rest of the world?

      Since you have to pay for the panels and the installation, the electricity is NOT free.

  13. R3sistance

    Decreasing coal exports

    I wonder if the decreasing coal exports had anything to do with this. With the US exports of coal decreasing each year due to cheaper alternatives and renewable sources of energy, it does make one wonder.

    Naturally this is all a brain-dead idea but Trump doesn't believe that humans are a major contributor in global warming/climate change/whateveryouwannacallit and so such a backwards policy is hardly a surprise from him. This is just more evidence that Trump is in fact an idiot, there are many deniers still around but the evidence continues to build up and up.

    Trump has only survived in business due to a high level of corruptness, celebrity status and con artistry at a corporate level. I am trying to think of a great businessman that ever had a company they owned/run go bankrupt even once, Trump has had that happen four times with a strong indication that the reason they went bankrupt so fast being the likelihood that he was funneling money from those businesses to his personal accounts. It isn't smart, intelligent or competent but it is highly corrupt and without actual business acumen, about the only thing Trump could have done to retain his money in the long run... of course other people might have thought about just selling the companies in question but it would probably have been harder to do all the tax dodges if Trump had done that instead.

    1. TomG

      Re: Decreasing coal exports

      Since you seem privy to Trumps financial affairs, you should inform the appropriate legal officials and save us all.

  14. Randall Shimizu

    I am disappointed that Trump decided to implement these as blanket tariffs. My own belief is that they should have been targeted tariffs. This smacks of protectionism to me.

  15. unwarranted triumphalism

    A good start

    Now perhaps we can make a start on getting rid of the unsightly eyesores. Did any of these solar panel installations get planning permission?

    1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

      Re: A good start

      "Did any of these solar panel installations get planning permission?"

      That should be easy to check on your local council website, if you can resist the impulse (or programmed instruction) to post here for long enough to try that.

  16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Once upon a time the govt. thought it would be a good idea to encourage a local semi-conductor manufacturing industry. So they imposed a tariff on imported components. Just on components, not on assemblies which included such components.

    Looking at any PCB manufactured back then it had a lot of components stamped with all sorts of countries as source of origin. It would have been quite infeasible to build a product locally which would have avoided paying tariffs on such components. It was cheaper, therefore, to buy in stuff assembled abroad. All it did was damage the local electronics industry.

    We still have that tariff. We still don't have that big semi-conductor manufacturing industry. We buy stuff fully assembled from China.

    Something I read recently reminded me of this.

    1. Steve Todd

      That’s just one example

      Look at US steel production. The US government slapped a large duty on the import of steel back in 2002. Result: US steel production went down, it increased user costs and unemployment went up in associated industries. It was estimated to have cost 200,000 jobs.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: That’s just one example

        Every tariff only punishes the local population not the intended target. It might help a few people but largely it's a job killer as you point out with steel. Another example is sugar in the US and you'll see that we pay about 40% more than the rest of the world. You'll also find out why high fructose corn syrup is so widely used and why confectionery jobs move out of the country. If we're lucky this tariff will have similar results and we'll only lose three jobs for every one we save. Somehow I don't see us being that lucky.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: That’s just one example

          > Every tariff only punishes the local population not the intended target.

          It will be the same with 'the wall'. The Orange Buffoon as suggested putting a tariff of stuff from Mexico as he thinks that this will 'make Mexico pay for the wall'. The only result is that prices in the US will go up as it is the importer that pays the tariff and they pass it on the the [US] consumer.

          Meanwhile Solar Farms will bypass this tariff and will build their farms in Mexico and then export the electricity to the US.

          1. TomG

            Re: That’s just one example

            You seem to underestimate how large the electricity market is in the USA. Mexico probably could not fill the demand if they covered Mexico with solar panels.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    excuse to say grizzled IT veteran

    wow maybe he can do it with people as well. A new arrival gets a tarrif slapped on any job he is going to do that could be done by an out of work grizzled IT veteran.

  18. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    A new arrival gets a tarrif slapped on any job he is going to do that could be done by an out of work grizzled IT veteran.

    I have this vision of an old school Cobol programmer taking to DevOps like a duck to lava flow.

  19. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    Unless You Live In The USA, Likely You Don't Appreciate The Clout Of The Power Sector

    the power generation industry has many tools in it's kit bag to fight from taxes to building codes to land zoning.

    AND they have the money to bribe politicians at state and national levels.

    And to monetise the investment in solar anything you need the ability to sell surplus to the grid (state or nation-based).

    VietNam has an abundance of sun and our government has been a little slow off the mark. The simplest solar system is a coil of black plastic hose-type pipe spread over a roof which can quickly produce water hot enough to make a coffee.

    Looking out of my high-rise condominium it is very encouraging to see just how many homes have installed solar systems be they for heating water (most popular) or electricity. Even the poorest souls in this country can have hot water.

    When I constructed two hotels for my wife (I actually employed labourers) we designed solar in to the designs. Rarely do guests turn 'instant' water heaters on sufficiently to trigger electrical consumption. Our electricity, sourced from battery-backed solar, results in frequent meter changes (EVN can't accept our not stealing electricity) and bills that amount to chump change of £20-30 per month for a total room count of 98.

    I can understand those who claim solar arrays can disfigure the appearance of classical buildings, a little planning can minimise such changes in appearance.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold on - editorial correction needed?

    "Today, China Gyna dominates the global supply chain and, by its own admission, is looking to increase its capacity to account for 70 percent of total planned global capacity expansions announced in the first half of 2017,"

    Fixed. No need to worry. Gyna does not import much.

  21. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Trumpy the clown striked again

    The country of "Capitalism über Alles" and "Market is always right" is now saying that protectionism is good.... I tell you, this country is beginning to become COMMUNIST!

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