Are New Tariffs On China Tied to November Elections? (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Amiel Ungar 05/20/12)
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The decision by the Commerce Department to slap tariffs on the import
of Chinese solar panels can be explained as a simple bureaucratic
decision and a reaction against Chinese dumping.
Americans are told that the Commerce Department is staffed by civil
servants and is insulated from political interference. As a totally
different political culture operates in China, the Chinese find it
difficult to distinguish politics from administration and therefore
they see the heavy hand of politics in the decision.
They are probably not alone, and since this is an election year and
some of us have suspicious minds, other explanations suggest
Mitt Romney has on numerous occasions argued that the administration
has been too lenient with the Chinese in terms of currency and trade
manipulations - and this decision provides the Obama administration
with an excellent rebuttal.
The Obama campaign also anticipates that the Republicans will replay
Obama´s promise of combating unemployment in the United States with
millions of green jobs. The green jobs have not materialized.
The administration will have to answer for the Solyndra scandal where
the administration invested megabucks in loan guarantees on a green
company that failed. Here, as well, accusing China of unfair trade
practices, allows the administration to argue that the plan was
essentially sound, but was thwarted by the Chinese.
As with other cases where the US tries to impose tariffs to protect
American industries against unfair practices, the business community
American solar panel manufacturers are obviously delighted and view
the decision as a "very positive step".
Advocates of punitive tariffs claim that a policy of direct and
indirect subsidies to Chinese manufacturers represents an attempt to
knock out global competitors, particularly in fledgling industries
where such tactics can quickly succeed.
US importers of solar panels claim that the US will emerge the loser,
because China will issue retaliatory tariffs making it more difficult
for American companies to sell their products in China. The importers
are also invoking the ecology arguments. By favoring American
companies instead of the American consumer, the tariffs will make
solar panels less affordable and as a result fewer people will
install them. This means that hundreds of megawatts of renewable
energy will have to be replaced by conventional polluting fuels.
The Chinese claim that the US tariffs are unfair and a source of
extreme dissatisfaction to China. China also imports raw materials
from the United States to manufacture the solar panels and therefore
the United States is shooting itself in the foot. (IsraelNationalNews
© 2012 05/20/12)
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