Canada’s Solar Sunday – Trump, Tariffs & Trade
Trump Administration wants Tariffs – Big Ones!
First up, Trump: As part of President Donald Trump’s America First… or “MAGA” vision… his government policies have made the decision to hit imports of Canadian solar energy modules with staggering tariffs, some as high as 30 percent!… Effective immediately.
What came next from the Canadian side is a no-brainer — as three Ontario-based manufacturing companies are suing the U.S. government over the imposition of tariffs on imports of their products to the US.
Their main claim – they say Trump ignored the U.S. International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body that would be required to recommend global tariffs on imports of solar cells and modules. — This has mainly impacted Asian markets more than Canada due to NAFTA.
Speaking of NAFTA…
They also claim Trump disregarded an exemption for the Canadian companies, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, because they haven’t caused significant harm to the few remaining American manufacturers. (Trump disregarding NAFTA is hardly a new topic, so I’m not sure how this is going to play out for the Canadian companies.
Does anyone support Canada on the American-side of the fence? Actually, YES! Two Minnesota state senators: Republican Paul Gazelka and David Tomassoni (Thanks, Minnesota!)
In a joint letter to the US Trade Court – It reads: “…. Minnesota has made significant and growing investments in the solar industry, often in partnerships with Canadian solar companies,”
Minnesota is often a beneficiary to friendly US/Canadian relations!
“These partnerships have resulted in the creation of jobs for Minnesotans and aided the rapid expansion of Minnesota’s solar industry.” (Good news for US Jobs… but they’re not in COAL, so obviously the Administration isn’t a fan!)
“The executive branch did not follow that careful process here,” – The letter claims…. (The White House not following the process… NOPE! I’m staying out of that one, readers!)
Perogies, Cabbage Rolls, and Sunshine! – Canada’s Ukrainian Ties
Back in Calgary, a group of investors at TIU Canada (under Refraction Asset Management umbrella in Calgary) quietly pitched the Canadian MP’s on a Trade Deal with the Ukraine… Good news, their pitch worked, and a deal was signed!
The agreement was signed on July 11, 2016, and took effect on Aug. 1, 2017. (Cool! Good Job guys!)
Fast-forward to the present… TIU Canada officially commissioned a 10.7 megawatt solar energy plant in Nikopol, Ukraine on Friday, January 26th.
This project was the first investment from the Canadian side under the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) (Good job guys x 2!)
Chief Operations Officer Hani Tabsh noted, “The launch of this solar energy plant is good for the residents of Nikopol, good for investment in Ukraine and good for trade with Canada. The facility will provide safe and clean electricity for the people and businesses in the city.” ( I agree, Good job guys x 3!)
Free-trade agreements work – and renewable energy is a beneficiary!
I can’t speak for our current NAFTA battle in the US, that’s for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to work out… which, by the way, I absolutely love this photo as is shows the frustration I’m sure many Canadian companies are feeling at the moment! – Go get ’em Chrystia!
Hopefully your Liberal Party’s Budget on Tuesday doesn’t hurt small businesses too much!
But what I can say is this, I feel very strongly that free-trade across countries is important, and successful! I think the current US President is wrong in his isolationist views. Jobs move all the time as new technologies, processes, and resources change, that’s why it’s literally called TRADE, and not CONSUME!
In terms of Renewables, countries as a whole, and businesses at a local level should be challenged by others to come up with better, cheaper, more effective solutions to our energy needs, and the benefits will come with it!
That’s your Solar Sunday.
I’ve got to go trade my money, for goods and services… more specifically a small latte!