USW Lauds USTR Decision on Imported Solar Cells and Washing Machines

CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384

(Pittsburgh) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement after the announcement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that relief will be provided to U.S. manufacturers of residential washing machines and solar cells and modules.

Last summer investigations were initiated under Section 201 of U.S. trade law to determine whether increased imports of these products were a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic producers. These investigations were requested by the industry.

The USTR announced that relief would be imposed in a manner to “facilitate a positive adjustment to import competition and provide greater economic and social benefits than costs.”

“The decision to provide relief to the domestic washing machine and solar industries is important to the workers not only in those sectors, but those who are part of the supply chain. The USW provides the steel, aluminum, rubber and other materials used in washing machines and makes silicon and other products utilized in solar cell and module production.

“For far too long, our trading partners have gamed the system, making repeated predatory attacks on the U.S. market, expecting that they will get away with it.  The USW has fought back by utilizing trade laws, but it’s been a never-ending fight.

“Our goal has been to have our government stand up and implement a consistent, comprehensive trade policy that makes clear that if a trading partner breaks the law, or tries to cheat and steal our jobs, there will be an immediate response. The announced action is a step forward in drawing a line in the sand that unfair trade will not be allowed.

“This is important, but far from enough.  Sitting on the president’s desk are reports on the impact of imports of steel and aluminum on our national security interests.   It’s time to act on those sectors as well.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. 

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United Steelworkers
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