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A quality control manager at a Suntech Power Holdings Co., a Chinese-owned solar panel manufacturer, examines a solar panel with a co-worker at a company facility in Goodyear, Ariz., Sept. 4, 2012 (AP photo by Ross D. Franklin).

Gunning for a Trade War With China, Trump May Target Burgeoning Solar Industry

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017

In late September, the U.S. International Trade Commission declared that growing imports of solar panels had significantly hurt U.S. manufacturers. The decision could provide the cover for President Donald Trump to make good on his threats to put up trade barriers with China, whose companies are the leading suppliers of solar cells and panels in the United States. In an email interview, Dieter Ernst, a senior fellow at the East-West Center and former adviser to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, discusses the impact of the commission’s ruling, what it means for the U.S. solar industry, and why a trade war is bad for both China and the United States.

WPR: What were the grounds for the U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision, and how do they fit with President Donald Trump’s trade and economic policies? ...

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