Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to address China's unfair trade practices that harm American manufacturers of solar panels. Wisconsin businesses play a significant role in the American solar industry, with more certified solar installers per capita than nearly any other state.
In a letter to U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Baldwin wrote, "American companies that are playing by the rules cannot compete with unfair Chinese practices." Citing the "widespread cheating" by Chinese solar panel manufacturers, Baldwin asked that illegal imports of Chinese solar products be addressed "to the fullest extent possible under the law."
Despite the successful foundation and great potential of the solar industry in Wisconsin and across the nation, U.S. solar manufacturing is at a disadvantage because China continues to pursue national policies that violate international trade law. Currently, by performing just one step of the solar panel manufacturing process in a third-country, such as Taiwan, Chinese solar companies can legally avoid paying U.S. import tariffs, which help to level the playing field.
"The solar industry provides employment in a variety of sectors in our state, and manufacturers, distributors, and contractors across Wisconsin have suffered because of illegal and unfair Chinese solar trade practices. Please join me in making sure solar companies in Wisconsin and across the U.S. can compete on a level playing field," Baldwin wrote.
Baldwin has a long history of standing up for Wisconsin businesses against China's unfair trade practices. Earlier this year, she led a successful effort to address violations of trade agreements in a number of sectors, including Wisconsin's paper industry.
In 2001, Baldwin strongly opposed China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) which granted permanent normal trade relations with the U.S. In February of this year, she joined in a bipartisan complaint to the WTO challenging China's unfair levy on American made automobiles.