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Murray, Cantwell, DelBene, Newhouse Call on Trump Administration to Save Washington State Jobs, Resolve Trade Dispute with China

March 14, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene and Dan Newhouse sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer calling on him to defend the U.S. polysilicon manufacturing industry from Chinese tariffs to save hundreds of high-paying Washington jobs.

“We are writing to follow up on our previous letters to again emphasize the importance of immediately resolving China’s retaliatory duties on U.S. polysilicon exports as part of the on-going negotiations with the Government of China,” the members wrote to Lighthizer.

In 2014, China placed tariffs on polysilicon materials, a key component in the production of semiconductors, solar panels, and other technology products, in retaliation for U.S. tariffs previously imposed on energy products from China. The move effectively locked U.S. polysilicon manufacturers out of the market, forcing the closure of REC Silicon at its Moses Lake plant, which relied on Chinese imports of polysilicon materials.

In the bipartisan letter, the members of Congress called on the administration to find an immediate resolution to the dispute, highlighting that the ongoing tariffs threaten hundreds of skilled, high-paying Washington state jobs if they remain in place.

“The continued application of these unfair trade orders threatens immediate, irreversible damage to the American polysilicon industry,” the members continued. “Absent a rapid resolution of this dispute as part of the agreement, hundreds of high wage jobs in Washington State will be lost in the coming weeks.”

The members also sent letters to President Trump in September and July of 2018, underscoring the importance of negotiating an end to the Chinese tariffs.

The full text of the letter can be found HERE.

 

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