Rep. McMorris Rodgers responds to silicon plant closure
SPOKANE, Wash. — On Wednesday, Cathy McMorris Rodgers responded to the closing of the REC Silicon plant in Moses Lake.
While speaking on KXLY 920, McMorris Rodgers said that “It’s really unfortunate. My hope would be that we can reach an agreement soon with China that would provide the certainty that our American industry needs in order to make longer term decisions.”
She also said that some things need to happen in order to give Eastern Washington residents some certainty about at-risk industries due to the trade war between the U.S. and China.
“The first order of business for congress is to ratify the US, Mexico, Canadian Agreement, the USMCA. That needs to be ratified by congress so that we provide the certainty around NAFTA,” McMorris Rodgers said. “We need to start making some decisions and the sooner we can get the USMCA approved, that’s going to provide some certainty that Eastern Washington needs. It also allows us to focus more on China and Japan.”
Before these comments McMorris Rodgers said that she applauds President Trump for taking on China. She said that “many have turned a blind eye and have been afraid to do what President Trump is leading. China has been a bad actor on the national stage.”
But, layoffs and financial troubles are not something new for REC Silicon. The solar-grade polysilicon creator has been struggling with trade war repercussions since 2012.
When American tariffs were imposed on China, solar panel creators there faced a 57 percent tariff on polysilicon bought from REC.
According to a Seattle Times article from 2013, Chinese customers accounted for nearly 80 percent of the polysilicon bought from REC. However, as high tariffs persisted throughout the years, that number dwindled leading to the close of the plant on Wednesday.
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