Throughout the evolution of the Section 201 trade case about to be handed to President Donald Trump by the U.S. International Trade Commission, an overwhelming coalition of diverse and often historically combative partners has come together in recognition of the risk posed to tens of thousands of American workers.
We at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) are asking President Trump and his administration to consider who wins this case if the recommended remedies are imposed. It won’t be solar manufacturers; they’re opposed to it and will lose workers. As many as 80,000 American jobs will be lost if the petitioners get their way, which has sparked a loud chorus of influential voices across the political spectrum against this dreadful case.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board called the proposed solar tariffs a “destructive exercise that benefits a handful of Suniva and SolarWorld investors at the expense of everyone else,” adding, “This is protectionism at its worst.” The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg and a number of other editorial boards are also on the side of America’s solar workers, all stressing that tariffs would harm far more Americans than they could help.
Republicans and Democrats are in unison in their calls on President Trump to deny foreign-owned Suniva and SolarWorld a bailout. In August, a bipartisan group of more than 80 lawmakers sent a letter opposing “America-last” trade policy. Since then, Republican and Democratic governors have sent letters and leading U.S. businesses including Nike, Starbucks and General Mills have come out against bailing out these foreign companies.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said in a recent radio interview, “We’re working very hard with the administration to see if we can avoid an artificial tax that everybody knows, at the end of the day, will be paid by ratepayers and will be damaging to tens of thousands of jobs across the country.”
Just the other week, nearly every conservative, free-market group in Washington sent a letter to the president urging him to allow American solar to compete on its own, echoing the sentiments last month from Fox News host and President Trump ally, Sean Hannity. These perspectives add to a broader alliance of leaders and groups putting American workers over the interests of foreign-owned companies.
We need everyone who shares the view that this is bad policy to join the hundreds of thousands of solar manufacturers, installers, developers, and small business entrepreneurs in the fight to Save America’s Solar Jobs. Here is what you can do to help:
- Submit a formal comment to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). We’ve provided some template language here along with a direct link to the comment form. It should only take a couple of minutes, so make your voice heard in this critical conversation.
- If you can be in Washington, D.C., during the USTR public hearing on Dec. 6, fill out this form to RSVP. There’s no guarantee that you can get in, but now is the time to show up and rally for American solar jobs. We are hoping to show strong support.
- SEIA is also gathering support from Republican members of Congress to sign on to a formal letter to the Trump administration. If you live in a Republican district, fill out this easy form to write a note to your Representative, urging him or her to sign on.
- Last but not least, the last few months of this campaign are critical, and will require significant investment. We are re-doubling our efforts on and need your company’s financial support to be successful. Please consider signing on as a sponsor today.
Together we can beat this “destructive exercise.” We call on President Trump to save America’s solar jobs and deny Suniva and SolarWorld their bailout.
Dan Whitten is SEIA’s vice president of communications. This article has been adapted and republished from a SEIA blog and does not necessarily reflect the views of Solar Industry or its team.