Photo: Reuters/Mike Blake
Photo: Reuters/Mike Blake

On Monday, US President Donald Trump approved duties on imported solar panels and large washing machines, following recommendations made by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

The tariffs on solar panels will start at 30%, phasing out over four years, while those on washing machines will reach as high as 50%, ending after three years.

“The president’s action makes clear again that the Trump administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was quoted by the Associated Press as saying about the decision.

While some reports focused on Trump’s singling out of Chinese-made solar panels, the decision on washing machines also targeted South Korean imports.

CNET reports that the ITC report made no specific claims of wrongdoing on the part of Samsung’s and LG’s machines, but cites those companies as a “substantial cause of serious injury” against domestic manufacturers.

“Today’s announcement is a great loss for American consumers and workers,” a Samsung spokesman told CNET. “This tariff is a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine. Everyone will pay more, with fewer choices.”

The duties on solar-panel imports will be a blow to the US renewables industry, Bloomberg reports, though not a devastating one by some accounts. By the same token, it also won’t be enough to breathe new life into US solar manufacturers.

The decision will “destruct some demand for new projects in the next two years,” Huge Bromley, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy was quoted as saying. “But they will likely prove insufficient in magnitude and duration to attract many new factories.”