US tariff on solar panels is 'job destroyer,' says Joseph Stiglitz

  • Stiglitz was speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • He criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff decision as counterproductive.

The U.S. decision to impose tariffs on imported solar cells is "weakening jobs," Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said Wednesday.

Stiglitz, who was speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's decision as counterproductive.

"There are already more jobs in renewable energy than there are in coal, so when Trump is putting a tariff barrier on solar panels… not only is he making it more difficult for America to meet our climate obligations but, actually, it's a job destroyer because the real sectors of the future are in renewable energy, like (the) installation of solar panels," Stiglitz said.

In an announcement Monday, the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that Trump had approved recommendations to impose "safeguard tariffs" on imported solar cells and modules as well as imported large residential washing machines.

The tariff for solar cells and modules will last for four years. In year one it will be 30 percent, and will then decrease by 5 percent each year, reaching 15 percent in year four.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the decision "will effectively cause the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year, including many in manufacturing."