In a move that will protect American jobs and U.S. solar panel manufacturers from competing against artificially cheap solar products from China, which are illegally subsidized and sold below the cost of production, the U.S. Commerce Department on Friday established new import duties on Chinese solar products.
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley praised this ruling, which will make American manufacturers more competitive in the solar market:
“The United States should have no tolerance for unfair and illegal subsidies that tilt the playing field against our own businesses and workers,” Merkley said. “American workers can out-compete anybody on a level playing field, and this decision will help give them that chance.”
SolarWorld, whose U.S. manufacturing is based in Hillsboro, Oregon, won a trade case in 2012 that imposed similar duties on China, but since then Chinese companies have sidestepped the requirements by transferring production of some panel parts to Taiwan. The Commerce Department’s decision cracks down on Chinese module manufacturers’ transferring parts of their products’ production to Taiwan and thereby skirting international trade requirements that apply to Chinese-made goods. Merkley has previously pressed the Commerce Department to close this loophole.
Merkley has long defended Oregon’s manufacturing jobs, worked to keep jobs on U.S. soil, and promoted investment in clean energy and green jobs. He is a cosponsor of the Bring Jobs Home Act – being debated this week – which would close tax loopholes that subsidize corporations for moving their operations overseas and would create new tax incentives for companies that bring jobs back to America. In 2013, Merkley secured an amendment that ensured materials for water infrastructure projects nationwide would be purchased in America. In December 2013, Sen. Merkley introduced legislation that would crack down on unfair trade practices, level the playing field for American manufacturing companies, and help create middle class jobs. Most recently, Sen. Merkley joined Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate trade agreement impacts on manufacturing and investigate whether U.S. companies get a fair shot at foreign investment contracts.