Trump: ‘We make better solar panels than China’

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2018

President Trump boasted Monday that his tariffs on solar panels and washing machines are already helping the domestic industries for those products.

But even without the tariff’s help, United States companies make better solar panels than China, Trump’s main target in imposing the worldwide tariff last month.

Before the tariff, the United States had 32 solar panel manufacturing plants, 30 of which had closed, Trump told a group of governors gathered at the White House.

“Now, they’re talking about opening up many of them, reopening plants that have been closed for a long time,” he said. “And we make better solar panels than China. One of their knocks were that the solar panels were lousy, they weren’t good. We make a much higher quality solar panel.”

In the time since Trump announced the 30 percent tariff on all imported solar panels, a handful of companies have announced expansion plans.

For example, Jinko Solar, a Chinese company, is planning a new facility in Florida, while First Solar said it will build the Southeast’s largest solar making facility in Georgia.

But other companies are suffering. SunPower, for example, is cutting up to 250 jobs due to the tariffs, which will make it more expensive to use the manufacturing facilities it has in foreign countries.

Some washing machine makers are also suffering from that industry’s tariff. LG Corp., for one, is raising prices to cope.

Nonetheless, Trump was proud of the tariffs.

“After two months, we’re opening up at least five plants and other plants are expanding on the washing machines,” he said.

Numerous countries have filed World Trade Organization complaints over the tariffs, and a handful of Canadian solar companies have sued Trump to stop them.