Stiglitz Calls Trump’s Tariffs ‘Bad for the Global Environment’

(Bloomberg) -- The new U.S. tariffs on solar panels and washing machines are “wrong” and won’t help the American economy, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said.

“It’s bad for the global environment, it’s bad for the American economy, it’s bad for jobs in the United States,” the Columbia University professor told Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua and Tom Keene in Davos, Switzerland, where he’s attending the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.

“You can’t build the world that we had in 1950, 1960 -- that’s not going to come back. We are not going to reindustrialize. We can bring back some manufacturing, but it will be jobless manufacturing done by robots. So what we have to do is find new industries, like installing solar panels. And what are we doing? We’re making it more difficult to install solar panels.”

Donald Trump marked the start of his second year in office by slapping tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines on Monday. That’s in line with his pledge to level a global playing field that the U.S. president -- who is expected in Davos later this week -- says is tilted against U.S. companies.

Whether the move will derail the broad global recovery will depend on China, to a large extent. While the country has voiced displeasure, saying the tariffs were a “misuse” of trade measures, that initial response is relatively temperate.

Stiglitz said he thought China would be “restrained,” adding that the tariffs were the sort of thing “everybody expected” and that they’d largely been discounted after fiery rhetoric on the campaign trail.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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