This afternoon two IMA-NA members, Tronox and the Port of Portland, had the opportunity to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining on the importance of reducing the soda ash royalty to 2 percent as opposed to the imminent rise to 6 percent. The hearing, convened by Subcommittee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), was held in order to gather testimony and support for S. 2031, American Soda Ash Competitiveness Act. IMA-NA members Fred von Ahrens, Vice President of Manufacturing for Tronox, and Rick Finn, Federal Affairs Manager for the Port of Portland, offered insight into the positive impact lower federal royalties have for the soda ash industry, the Port of Portland and the U.S. economy in general.
The lower royalty rate is vital for the U.S. industry to remain competitive in the global marketplace where their largest competitors from China are currently heavily subsidized. The recent devaluation of the Chinese currency combined with a substantial VAT rebate, allow the Chinese companies a $27 per metric ton cost advantage over U.S. companies.
The U.S. soda ash industry is the largest inorganic chemical export by volume in the United States and provides over one billion dollars to the balance of trade. Roughly 58% of all soda ash produced in the U.S. is exported, while the remaining 42% is used domestically, supplying virtually 100% of domestic need.
The soda ash industry contributes substantially to our national economy and has the additional benefit of having less environmental impact than the process China uses to make synthetic soda ash. IMA-NA's life cycle analysis of soda ash was submitted to the record as proof of U.S. producers commitment to being responsible stewards for the environment as well as for their products.
Numerous parties submitted written support for the royalty reduction, including the Glass Packaging Institute, the Beer Institute, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, along with the Union Pacific Railroad. All are attached below.
To view a press release on this hearing, click here.
To read more about the hearing click here.
To read the American Soda Ash Competitiveness Act click here.