Tester, Walsh call on Vice President to settle U.S.-China solar dispute
Senators urge quick settlement to support Butte’s solar energy industry, create jobs
(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh this week called on Vice President Joe Biden to help settle a trade dispute between the United States and China over solar equipment and goods, including products made in Butte.
Since 2012, the U.S. and China have been locked in an escalating battle over tariffs on solar goods, such as polysilicon – a material made at REC Silicon in Butte that is critical for solar energy production.
Tester and Walsh told the Vice President that the dispute will limit job growth and could even lead to job losses. They reached out to Biden because of the Vice President’s long-standing leadership in trade relations and foreign affairs.
“We ask you to bring folks together to develop a negotiated settlement that will lead to growth in all aspects of the solar industry,” Tester and Walsh said. “Growth in the solar industry is an outstanding opportunity to create high-paying jobs and to enhance our energy security, and we believe your leadership is critical to resolving the current situation.”
“I applaud this strong effort by our Senators to seek a permanent solution in Washington to this devastating trade war,” said Rich Green, Director of Plant Operations at REC Silicon. “Bringing all the parties together to work towards a negotiated settlement is the only way to secure growth, jobs and the future of this incredibly promising industry.”
REC Silicon employs approximately 270 people producing solar-grade and electronic-grade polysilicon in Butte. REC Silicon’s Butte plant is one of two REC facilities in the United States that produces solar inputs. Its sister plant in Moses Lake, Washington produces primarily solar-grade polysilicon.
Tester and Walsh’s letter to Vice President Joe Biden is available below.