Following its imposition of 30% tariffs on solar cells and modules, the Trump Administration has announced an updated list of countries which are exempt from the measure.
48 Africa countries were listed as exempt from the newly announced trade tariffs.
American companies had been pressuring the federal government to take action against what they call cheap solar products from foreign countries in the renewable energy industry such a solar panels, farms and washing machines. They say their operations have been negatively impacted. There is, however, mixed reaction from some U.S. renewable energy companies to the imposition of the steep tariffs by the Trump Administration, saying this will drive up the price for consumers.
South Korean washing machine companies and some solar energy companies in China have sought to relocate to circumvent the tariffs.
China and South Korea are major players in the solar industry and washing machines products. Economists predict that the imposition of the tariffs will increase trade tensions and protectionism. Candidate Trump in his “America First” populism message promised that he would address U.S. trade inequalities especially with China whom he described as a “currency manipulator.”
But it is still unclear why such a huge number of African countries were included on the list for the imposition of the tariffs in the first place since most, if not all of them, are not exporters of renewal energy products or washing machines to the United States; nor have they played host to companies manufacturing of Chinese or Korean solar panel or washing machine.
List of Exempt African Countries:
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Brazzavile), Congo (Kinshasa), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon and The Gambia
Others are Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
By Emmanuel Abalo
West African Journal Magazine