US President Donald Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on solar panels is expected to have only a mild impact on Taiwan’s solar industry as Taiwanese makers have been diversifying their markets, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday.
“Taiwanese solar companies have been shifting their focus from the US to other markets ever since the US initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on solar products in 2015,” Shen told a news conference in Taipei.
Last year, Taiwan exported NT$310 million (US$10.58 million), or 45 megawatts (MW), of solar cells and NT$120 million, or 4.4MW, of solar modules, Shen said.
The combined value of NT$430 million accounted for only 2.5 percent of the nation’s total exports last year, he added.
“However, it is clear that US protectionism is on the rise. We are cautiously monitoring the US’ move,” the minister said.
Trump on Monday approved safeguard tariffs of up to 30 percent on solar cells and modules, and up to 50 percent on large washing machines.
South Korea and China on Tuesday protested Washington’s move, with Seoul saying it would file a complaint with the WTO, while Beijing vowed to defend its legitimate interests.
Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮) said the US’ move is an “inappropriate” use of a trade remedy, which affects normal global trade and hinders industry development.
Taiwan does not plan to file a complaint with the WTO, as it would cost a lot of time, money and involve complicated negotiations between the two countries, Yang said.
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