DALTON, Ga. — Tariffs imposed on solar power products two years ago have benefited the Greater Dalton area, local officials told the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Thursday.

Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock, Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Lynn Laughter and Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority Executive Director Carl Campbell traveled to Washington, D.C. The ITC advises Congress and the president on foreign trade and adjudicates trade disputes.

“This is part of what is called the midterm review,” said Mock. “We are halfway through the (four years of) the tariffs, and the ITC has to make a report to the president to let him know what impact they have had. We wanted to let them know they have had a big benefit for Dalton.”

The Hanwha Q Cells solar module manufacturing plant in the Carbondale Business Park employs some 750 people and is one of the 15 largest private employers in the county. The plant, which is owned by a South Korean firm, opened in January and shipped its first products in February.

Laughter said the tariffs imposed by President Trump were the “primary reason” Hanwha decided to build a facility in the United States.

“We do not want to see that incentive reduced or taken away,” she told the ITC.

“We desperately need this company to help us toward our goal of continuing to diversify our industry so when, not if, the next recession comes along, our region will be more insulated than it was in 2008 and 2009,” Laughter said.

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