January 12 (Renewables Now) - Employees of US company Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC) are urging President Donald Trump, in a letter dated January 9, to confront China’s ban on imports of US solar-grade polysilicon.
“A remedy in the solar panel Section 201 trade case that does not include the polysilicon industry will be a loss for US manufacturing,” Hemlock workers say.
Since 2014, when China moved to limit US polysilicon imports, US manufacturers of the raw material have lost about a third of their workforce, according to the letter. The employees warn of further polysilicon capacity shutdowns in the US if access to the Chinese market is not restored.
Hemlock Semiconductor is composed of joint ventures owned by The Dow Chemical Company, Corning Inc, and Shin-Etsu Handotai.
President Trump has to announce this month his decision in the Section 201 trade case, through which US solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturers are seeking protection from foreign imports, especially from China.
The Section 201 petition was filed by Suniva Inc in April, and was soon joined by SolarWorld Americas Inc, both proposing import tariffs on crystalline silicon (CS) PV cells and modules and the introduction of a floor price or import quotas. The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has presented various remedy recommendations and the final decision now lies with the President.