The Washington Post editorializes:
WHEN THE Commerce Department slapped tariffs on Chinese solar panels last year, industry analysts had good reason to worry that it would spark a costly and counterproductive trade war. Now, in another example of why tariffs and other trade barriers should be imposed with extreme caution, their fears are being borne out. In retaliation for last year’s penalties, the Chinese government has begun enforcing tariffs of its own on American polysilicon, an ingredient in solar panel manufacturing.
U.S. polysilicon makers account for about a quarter of the international market, much of their product shipped to China. Or at least that was the case last year. In the beginning of 2013, Michigan-based Hemlock Semiconductor announced that it was firing hundreds of workers, perhaps for good, partially in anticipation of the trade restrictions that have just been phased in. Upon hearing that the Chinese government would punish U.S. firms, stocks of non-U.S. polysilicon makers soared. Tariffs on both sides, meanwhile, promise to push up the price of solar equipment in the United States.