My letter to the NY Times re: The Fallacy of Tariffs

Re: Solar Tariffs Upheld, but May Not Help in US

Dear Sirs:
Diane Cardwell’s explanation of the failure of US tariffs on Chinese solar panels to protect American producers illustrates the fallacy both of subsidies to gain market share and tariffs as retaliatory measures to protect domestic industries.  Neither work.  The Chinese people themselves pay the full cost of subsidizing solar panels, and now they find that they have wasted capital on a vast scale–Ms. Cardwell reports that worldwide productive facilities have been over-built by 133%!  Furthermore, the tariffs designed to punish the Chinese are easily skirted by moving different stages of production to non-tariff countries.  The loser is the solar panel buyer in the US, who must pay 10 to 15 percent more for these panels that are needlessly transported from country to country in order to avoid the letter of the tariff law.  The US is NOT harmed by foreign subsidies.  We get bargains.  Why can’t anyone understand this basic logic?  Patrick Barron

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