Tester Leads Push to Crack Down on China and Level Playing Field for Montana Workers in U.S. Solar Industry

Senator calls on Biden Administration to investigate Chinese solar companies engaging in unfair trade practices to avoid tariffs and undermine U.S. workers;

Tester specifically cites concerns raised by Butte-based company REC Silicon

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on the Biden Administration to crack down on Chinese companies that are engaging in unfair trade practices in the U.S. solar industry by avoiding U.S. tariffs and undermining American workers.

In a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Tester and his colleagues called on the Administration to level the playing field for American solar workers by supporting a set of antidumping and countervailing duty petitions filed by the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee—which includes REC Silicon in Butte, Montana.

“U.S. solar workers and manufacturers are ready to compete on a level playing field, but leaving China’s cheating unaddressed puts thousands of American solar jobs and the domestic solar industry in jeopardy. Supporting the petitions filed by the Alliance helps hold China accountable and ensure all Americans and our allies benefit from a thriving U.S. solar manufacturing base,” Tester and his colleagues wrote. “Careful consideration of all four countries in the petitions is a necessity, as a negative determination in one will lead Chinese-headquartered producers to shift production to that country. We support the Alliance’s AD/CVD petitions to give the U.S. solar industry its chance to shine.”

In his letter, Tester specifically highlighted concerns raised by REC Silicon which maintains a plant in Butte, Montana. Tester and his colleagues emphasized that it is important to hold China accountable so that companies like REC Silicon have a level playing field, writing: “China has made it clear that it will do anything to stop American manufacturing from realizing its potential and is currently targeting the growing U.S. solar industry through the use of market-distorting trade practices, including illegal subsidies. Holding China accountable for its illegal trade practices will allow for the growth of a more diverse, and more secure, solar supply chain, here in the United States.”

Tester has long fought to maintain America’s competitive edge over China and protect American workers. Last May, Tester voted to overturn the Biden Administration rule that removes tariffs from solar materials that are made in China and shipped through third party countries to circumvent existing tariffs.

Tester’s bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act invests in high-tech manufacturing across the country, strengthens technology supply chains, and bolsters development of cutting-edge research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Tester was the only member of the Montana congressional delegation to serve on the conference committee that negotiated the bill.

Tester wrote a Buy America requirement into his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which requires the use of American-made steel, iron and other construction materials in federally funded infrastructure projects. In November, Tester voted in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Biden Administration’s decision to sidestep the Buy America rule for EV chargers. Tester worked across the aisle for months to negotiate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats, and the White House. Tester also worked to ensure that all iron, steel, and construction materials used for these projects must be made in America. Tester’s law is projected to create more than 800,000 American jobs and lower costs for businesses by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes on working families.

Read Tester and his colleagues’ full letter HERE.


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