Government agency backs import protection for U.S. solar panel industry

Solar installers from Baker Electric place panels on the roof of a residential home in Scripps Ranch, Calif., last October. U.S. solar-panel makers on Friday won backing from the International Trade Commission in their bid for protection from imports. /PHOTO: MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

The 4-0 vote by the International Trade Commission could boost Trump administration efforts to take a more aggressive stance on trade enforcement

By Jacob M. Schlesinger, Andrew Tangel and Erin Ailworth | The Wall Street Journal

President Donald Trump’s pledge to offer American companies more aggressive protection from foreign competition got fresh ammunition Friday, when a government board cleared the way for him to deploy a long-dormant legal weapon to restrict solar panel imports.

The significance of the 4-0 vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission goes beyond the energy sector.

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The independent, bipartisan agency authorized the use of trade barriers under a law last invoked in 2002 by the George W. Bush administration to protect U.S. steelmakers. The decision is likely to encourage more industries to turn to the “safeguard” law, which permits companies to seek relief if they can prove “serious injury” from a sudden surge in imports.



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September 2017