US-based polysilicon producer REC Silicon has warned it may be forced to completely shut down its production plant in Moses Lake, Washington, with the loss of around 400 jobs due to the ongoing imposition by China of high import duties on polysilicon.
In July, REC Silicon said it would cut its fluidised bed reactor (FBR) production by 2,000MT and stop planned expansions at the Moses Lake facility as a consequence of Chinese tariffs.
China had imposed import duties of 57% on REC Silicon in retaliation to US anti-dumping duties on Chinese module and cell imports, sparking a trade war between the countries.
In a statement, the company said an ongoing failure to resolve the dispute may now force it to shutter its remaining production capacity at Moses Lake.
Tore Torvund, REC Silicon's CEO said, “REC Silicon was brought into the solar trade war in retaliation for a dispute regarding imports of solar panels from China into the US. Now there is a resolution deal on the table between the US and China that would provide Chinese panel companies with valuable market access in the US provided that at solution can be found also for US polysilicon. A global resolution of both the Chinese solar panels and US polysilicon trade barriers provides enormous benefits for the whole of China's dynamic and rapidly growing PV industry. We do not understand why China has not yet seized this unique opportunity for a mutually beneficial solar trade resolution, which would give China substantial financial returns.
“Despite numerous negotiations, the polysilicon dispute is still unresolved. It is perplexing that Chinese polysilicon makers, who claim to have highly competitive production costs and only have capacity to serve less than half of China's growing polysilicon demand, could jeopardize the global resolution of the entire U.S. and China solar trade war. It is particularly baffling when additional competitive polysilicon supply is needed in China if its leading PV industry is to expand to its full potential to meet the world's increasing demand for solar energy. As we understand it, there will be no resolution on Chinese solar panels imported into the U.S. without a deal providing reasonable market access for U.S. polysilicon into China.”
According to REC Silicon, the US Trade Ambassador and Chinese solar industry associations including CCCME have brokered a deal but little progress has been made with Chinese authorities.
REC Silicon has plans under a JV agreement to build an FBR polysilicon plant in China.
Hemlock Semiconductor, one of the largest polysilicon producers and also based in the US is also impacted by heavy import duties and halted construction of a major new production plant.