Cantwell Statement on Proposal to Boost U.S. Solar Industry

Proposal would support solar manufacturing jobs

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement after the release of an industry-wide solution that could boost the U.S. solar manufacturing industry.

The Solar Energy Industries Association’s new proposal would eliminate China’s import tariffs on polysilicon – a key ingredient in solar panels – which run as high as 57 percent. It would also end U.S. tariffs on solar cells and modules from China. These tariffs hurt solar manufacturing business in Washington state such as REC Silicon in Moses Lake.

“I am glad that we are making progress on ending this impasse,” Cantwell said. “That will allow us to get back to the work of creating clean energy jobs that get products to the marketplace that are focused on reducing CO2 emissions.”

On March 19, 2009 Cantwell spoke to the importance of U.S.-China cooperation on climate change during an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Joining Cantwell at the event was the vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Minister Xie Zhenhua. In her remarks, Cantwell noted that U.S.-China clean energy cooperation can positively impact climate change, and called for the U.S. and China to work together to eliminate tariffs around the world on exports of clean energy and environmental goods and services. As a first step, she called for the creation in both China and the U.S. of clean energy free trade zones. She also called for the U.S. and China to conclude a comprehensive bilateral agreement on clean energy cooperation. This agreement could spur a joint financing mechanism for research and development or joint large-scale demonstration projects or joint energy efficiency efforts.

In February 2009, Cantwell addressed the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum in Bellevue. As the world’s largest energy consumers and importers in the world, the U.S. and China have an opportunity to work together to develop and implement clean energy technologies that will help our country’s economies and create jobs. Cantwell was joined by Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong during his first trip to Washington state.

On April 10, 2007, Senator Cantwell led other Senate energy leaders in urging President Bush to implement a comprehensive, mutually-beneficial U.S.-China energy policy. The bipartisan group of senators, which included the chairs of the Energy, Finance, Foreign Relations, and Homeland Security Committees, cited global climate change concerns, China's potential as a strong market for new U.S. energy technologies, and the importance of preventing tension between the world's two largest energy importers. To help improve cooperation and develop a coordinated energy policy, the senators called on President Bush to hold an energy summit with China.