The International Trade Commission ruled on Friday that imported solar panels from China and other countries were injuring U.S. manufacturers which will provide President Trump with the opportunity to impose tariffs in order to protect American solar panel producers from this “unfair” foreign competition. However, to protect the jobs of Americans who manufacture solar panels, the President would have to endanger the jobs of a larger groups of Americans: those who install the solar panels at our homes and businesses. Thus, solar panels are a perfect illustration of the dilemma inherent in opposing free trade.
Justin Worland reports in Time that solar panel manufacturers employ about 8,000 Americans while another 240,000 U.S. jobs are related to selling and installing those solar panels. The companies involved in that end of the business are opposed to any tariffs because more expensive solar panels will likely mean fewer people wanting them installed. In fact, the industry is warning that 88,000 jobs are at risk if action is taken to save the 8,000 jobs manufacturing solar panels in the U.S.
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