Last month the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of a petition filed earlier this year under Section 201 of the Trade Act by solar panel manufacturers Suniva and SolarWorld. The filing alleged that the two bankrupt companies experienced serious injury due to overseas competition. Section 201 is a rarely used remedy for domestic industries seriously injured by or threatened with serious injury from increased imports. An ITC recommendation on this case is expected by November 3 and is likely to include tariffs which, if the president agrees, could cost 88,000 American jobs and inhibit growth in America’s solar industry.
Section 201 is being used to unfairly protect a domestic industry again. In May, Whirlpool filed a petition alleging that Korean companies LG and Samsung have harmed it in the large residential washer (LRW) market. According to the suit, LG and Samsung are selling large residential washers (LRWs) in the United States at below the production cost. An ITC ruling is expected on October 5, and if the trend holds, the ITC will recommend the president impose tariffs. As with the case involving solar panels, if the president accepts the recommendations American families will bear the costs of the U.S. giving into protectionist impulses in the form of higher prices, lost consumer choice and possibly, jobs.
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