OSLO May 3 A three-year-old trade row with
Beijing over polysilicon used in solar panels could be resolved
soon as the Trump administration looks to reduce the U.S. trade
deficit with China, the chief executive of REC Silicon
said on Wednesday.
China imposed tariffs on, and later banned, imports of
solar-grade U.S. polysilicon in 2014, shutting U.S. producers
out of a market that accounts for 80 percent of global demand.
A lobbying effort is currently under way in Washington to
ensure polysilicon is included on a list of goods being drawn up
to help the United States reduce its trade deficit with China,
REC Silicon CEO Tore Torvund said during an earnings
"We have an ongoing conversation with the new administration
and we are in agreement. They have expressed a clear interest in
finding a resolution to this," said the CEO, who was in
Washington last week to talk with U.S. officials.
"There is definitely a positive momentum right now and if
this momentum is realised then something will happen within the
next 2-3 months."
Oslo-listed REC Silicon owns the Moses Lake Polysilicon
production plant in the U.S. state of Washington, one of the
largest in the world. Output capacity has been reduced by 50
percent as a result of the trade row with China and 70 employees
have been laid off.
Torvund said chances for resolving the dispute increased
significantly after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese
President Xi Jinping met in Florida last month.
"We were actively trying to get this (dispute) on the agenda
at that meeting and what occurred is basically that the two
presidents decided to put together a list within the next 2-3
months of means to try to reduce the trade deficit between the
U.S. and China," Torvund said.
"We want to be on that list and have told the administration
that if this dispute was to be resolved, we could increase our
export to China by $400-$500 million, and it would create
hundreds of new jobs in the U.S., because we and the other
companies could then restart our operations."
(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg; editing by Gwladys Fouche and