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EU, US fail to agree on alternatives to solar products safeguard tariffs

The European Union (EU) and the US have informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that Washington has rejected Brussels’ proposals to US safeguard tariffs imposed on solar products, the two parties said in a joint filing published by the WTO on Tuesday.

In addition, there was no agreement on a form of compensation but they said they would monitor the impact of the measures on trade flows and continue their discussions, reports Xinhua.

According to the WTO filing, on February 15, the EU and the US conducted consultations aimed at discussing documents related to the safeguard measure on solar products. (Read WTO to set up compliance panel in solar dispute between India, US)

The EU suggested a form of measure that would be less penalising for its imports such as a quota allocated by country or a minimum import price, but the US rejected this.

In January, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced it would impose as much as 50 per cent tariffs on imported washing machines and up to 30 per cent tariffs on imported solar panels among its first measures aimed at helping manufacturers in the US.(Read India hits back at US solar claim at WTO, Explores new defense to protect industry)

The Trump administration’s move against imported solar components was reported to have split the solar panel industry.

Local manufacturers were reported to favour the tariffs as a necessary step to save domestic subsidiary companies, with installers opposing them as job-killers and a move set to raise costs.

It was predicted by the head of the Solar Energy Industries Association in early February that the tariffs could lead to the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year.

WTO rules permit safeguard tariffs if a country is facing a sudden, damaging surge in imports of a product.

Source: IANS