Am I Next? Trade War Layoffs at REC Silicon


Continuing with the company’s long-term shutdown program, REC Silicon has laid off another 100 employees. The company continues to implore the United States government to petition the Chinese government for the “open, fair, and unrestricted sales of polysilicon in China.

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REC Silicon, a leading producer of advanced silicon materials including high-purity polysilicon and silicon gases to the solar and electronics industries worldwide, has announced a layoff of approximately 100 employees at its Moses Lake, Washington facility.

According to the company, the layoffs are directly attributable to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China over solar-grade polysilicon. The company will be reducing capacity to respond to the current sales environment.  

A company announcement noted, “REC Silicon’s management regrets today’s lay-off of our highly-skilled colleagues. We have done all we can to avoid today’s action, but we have no choice while the China market remains closed. It is a tremendous injustice that the hard-working Americans, who have made REC Silicon the polysilicon industry’s technology leader and one of the most competitive producers in the world are now losing their jobs. REC Silicon can out-compete its foreign rivals, and we can do it from our manufacturing locations here in the United States. We simply need fair access to the China market.”

“REC Silicon invested $1.7 Billion to construct a state of the art, cost leading solar grade polysilicon production facility in Moses Lake, Washington in 2010. At its peak in 2011, REC Silicon generated $1 Billion in annual revenues from its operations in the United States and provided approximately 900 high paying jobs. Approximately 95% of REC Silicon's revenues are generated from sales in markets outside the United States. As a consequence of the on-going solar trade dispute with China, REC Silicon has executed successive layoffs to preserve its operations in the United States. After the layoff today, the company will continue to employ approximately 400 people at its facilities in Moses Lake, Washington and Butte, Montana. As a direct result of the solar trade dispute, REC Silicon's workforce has declined by a total of 500 jobs since 2011. During the same period, the company's revenues have declined by over 70% to $272 Million in 2017.”

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