Trump has just signed executive orders that impose new tariffs on imported washing machines and solar products:
JUST IN: Trump signs executive actions imposing tariffs on imported washing machines and solar products pic.twitter.com/weKYBBGgHp
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) January 23, 2018
Trump will impose a 20 percent tariff on the first 1.2 million imported large residential washers in the first year, and a 50 percent tariff on machines above that number. The tariffs decline to 16 percent and 40 percent respectively in the third year.
A 30 percent tariff will be imposed on imported solar cells and modules in the first year, with the tariffs declining to 15 percent by the fourth year. The tariff allows 2.5 gigawatts of unassembled solar cells to be imported tariff-free in each year.
Whirlpool, which sought the washers “safeguard” action against rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics after years of anti-dumping cases, saw its shares rise 1.8 percent in after-hours trade.
“By enforcing our existing trade laws, President Trump has ensured American workers will compete on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts,” Whirlpool Chairman Jeff Fettig said in a statement.
The move punishes Samsung, which recently began washer production in South Carolina, and LG, which is building a washer factory in Tennessee.
“This tariff is a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine. Everyone will pay more, with fewer choices,” Samsung said in a statement.
LG Electronics said that the decision will hinder the ramp-up and employment prospects of its new plant, which will not begin production until late 2018 or early 2019.
Trump ignored a recommendation from the ITC to exclude South Korean-produced washers from LG from the tariffs, as prior anti-dumping duties on these machines have been dropped. The decision could also hurt retailer Sears Holdings, whose Kenmore brand sources its larger washers from LG’s overseas factories.
From NBC News:
Not everyone agrees the move will work in favor of Americans, including Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse who says his fellow Republicans need to understand that tariffs are a tax on consumers.
“Moms and dads shopping on a budget for a new washing machine will pay for this — not big companies,” Sasse said in a statement.
Of course I generally agree with Sasse here. Like increased taxes on products, tariffs just get passed on to the consumer. However big tariffs can certainly hurt an industry and some of these tariffs are pretty steep.
However if these companies were engaging in ‘dumping’, then perhaps some of this is legit.
John McCain seems to side with Sasse though:
Trump admin's new protectionist tariffs nothing more than a tax on consumers https://t.co/2ZSZ72a9Zv— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) January 23, 2018