October 03, 2017

Wyden, Bonamici Call for Strong Action to Protect Oregon Workers and Industry from Flood of Foreign Solar Panels

Lawmakers Testify at International Trade Commission on Need to Protect U.S. Solar Manufacturing Jobs; Hillsboro’s SolarWorld Threatened

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici today called for a strong response to the surge of cheap solar panel imports that have devastated U.S. solar panel manufacturers.

The Oregon lawmakers testified at the U.S. International Trade Commission on the need for U.S. action to stem the tide of overproduced, dumped and subsidized solar panels from China and other nations. That overproduction has forced more than 30 U.S. solar manufacturers out of business since 2010, destroying thousands of American jobs. The trade case was originally brought by SolarWorld and California-based Suniva, two U.S. solar manufacturers threatened by a flood of cheap imports from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and other foreign nations. 

“I urge the Commission to recommend a remedy robust enough to repair the serious injury already experienced by the US solar manufacturing sector and to ensure its long-term growth and competitiveness,” Wyden said. “In practical terms, that means identifying a remedy that helps to revive a domestic manufacturing sector central to our leadership in energy innovation yet long under siege.  With manufacturing comes the R&D and innovation that will ensure that the next generation of solar products will be developed and manufactured in America.  Our solar manufacturers, workers and their families deserve nothing less.”

“The jobs lost at SolarWorld were good jobs in an important industry, one in which our nation should be leading,” Bonamici said. “We have innovative entrepreneurs and workers in our country who thrive when there is fair access to the markets. Without a thoughtful and strong remedy, our few remaining domestic manufacturers will be decimated and we risk ceding the leadership in this industry to other countries. American manufacturers can compete successfully if they have a fair shot, and they can help the industry grow and prosper.”

The ITC ruled on Sept. 22 that a surge in imports has seriously damaged U.S. solar manufacturers. The commission is now considering what actions should be taken to provide U.S. employers with relief from this damaging rush of imports.  

Sen. Wyden and Rep. Bonamici supported trade cases in 2012 and 2014 that led to steep tariffs against illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese solar panels, however global overcapacity continues to hammer American companies. The current petition, brought under Section 201 of the Trade Act, allows for broad action against imports from any nation, to safeguard U.S. workers and employers from the current surge in imported panels.