Responses to President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese solar panels fall into two general camps.
One holds that Chinese solar manufacturing subsidies are so egregious as to require U.S. tariffs to deter additional subsidies by Beijing. Others believe the action is really just free-trade political posturing by Trump, and in practice, amounts only to a self-inflicted wound on the rapidly growing U.S. solar installation sector.
Neither perspective accounts, however, for the recent history of U.S. and Chinese solar subsidies, or indeed new subsidies for carbon capture and other clean energy sources that became law in the recent budget agreement.
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