Earlier today, S. 2031, The American Soda Ash Competitiveness Act, was introduced by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Joining the Senators in co-sponsoring this bill, were Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Soda ash is the primary ingredient in the manufacturing of glass. Natural soda ash is produced from trona ore. The U.S. is blessed with the largest deposit of trona ore in the world. Natural soda ash emits 2-3 times less CO2 and uses 2-3 times less energy as synthetic soda ash which is the primary form of soda ash produced in China.
The U.S. industry is heavily reliant on the global market for growth. The U.S. industry currently exports about 58% of the natural soda ash produced, while still supplying 100% of the domestic needs. The primary competition the U.S. is facing is from the industry in China. Over the past 15 years, the Chinese have become the global leader in the production of soda ash. They have largely accomplished this due to unfair trade practices, including giving their producers a 9% rebate on the value-added tax (VAT) on their exports. That VAT rebate, along with the recent Chinese currency devaluation, gives their industry a $27 per metric ton benefit in the global marketplace over the U.S. industry.
This legislation would allow for the U.S. industry to be placed on a more equal footing with their Chinese competitors, and allow the industry the opportunity to grow and add more jobs throughout the U.S.
IMA-NA would like to thank Senators Barrasso, Wyden, Merkley and Enzi for their support of this vital legislation. We look forward to working with their offices on getting this bill signed into law.
The House had introduced similar legislation earlier this year, HR. 1992.
To view the legislation, click here.
To view the press release from Senator Barrasso, click here.