Level the playing field

Ask anyone who used to work in the steel or aluminum industry in our region what happens when the federal government does not defend strongly enough against unfair trade practices — too often at the hands of China. Their story is one of failure to transition policy at a pace that keeps up with the bad behavior of global players.

Now, there is a threat on a new front — the solar industry. Ohioans who welcomed First Solar and had hoped for more growth (and jobs) in the industry know they have allies in Washington, D.C., as U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio 9th, are at the forefront of an effort to support antidumping and countervailing duty petitions filed by the American Alliance for Solar Manufacturing Trade Committee.

Brown and Kaptur are joined by others, including Sen. Joe Manchin, I-W.Va., seeking an investigation into Chinese companies with facilities in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam that are reportedly engaging in unfair trade practices to avoid U.S. tariffs.

“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,” the members wrote.

Our region’s solar industry is so young, it would be a shame to see it blotted out before it ever gets a chance to shine, because of the federal government’s inaction.

This group of lawmakers must be joined by others who do not relent on the matter. And the International Trade Commission and U.S. Commerce Department MUST listen.


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