Hemlock Semiconductor Operations

Done Deal: Getting Polysilicon Included in the U.S. Trade Deal

Goal: Ensure polysilicon made by HSC and others was included in Phase 1 of the U.S.-China trade deal.

Notable Awards/Recognitions:
  • 2020 Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America Pinnacle Award for Special Event

In an effort to regain access to the Chinese market for polysilicon —which represents 92% of world polysilicon demand —three U.S. polysilicon producers, including Hemlock Semiconductor, held a briefing with members of the U.S. House Manufacturing Caucus in Washington D.C.

Martin Waymire worked to develop talking points, a press release, social media posts and infographics for the briefing, and to assist in producing a PowerPoint presentation for the three manufacturers. We conducted thorough research on the history of the Chinese polysilicon tariff and its impact on the U.S. polysilicon industry. Secondary research data on exports and market share was gathered through IHS Markit, BNEF and Energy Trends Chain Reports, as well as Chinese Customs data. Review of past news articles on the trade fight gave us additional insights into how the companies had been harmed. MW also interviewed government affairs officials for the three companies about the political makeup of the House Manufacturing Caucus to understand the audience they would be presenting to.

Action Plan & Communication Overview:

These insights helped us to craft appropriate talking points, presentations and materials for attendees and the media. We also were able to tailor our messaging to our target audience: congressional members of the U.S. House Manufacturing Caucus and their staffs.

Recognizing the need to appeal to both Republicans and Democrats in the House Manufacturing Caucus, Martin Waymire used its research to develop a nonpartisan approach to messaging that centered on the need to protect U.S. jobs and the polysilicon industry.


The briefing was successful. When Phase 1 of the U.S.-China trade deal was signed on January 15, 2020, the agreement included China’s commitment to buy U.S. polysilicon. Other achievements included:

  • Thirty people attended the briefing, including congressional members, some of whom spoke during the briefing in support of including polysilicon in the deal.
  • A letter signed by the entire Tennessee congressional delegation was sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer the day of the briefing, urging him to include polysilicon in Phase 1 of the U.S.-China trade deal.
  • Five news media and trade publication outlets covered the story based on the press release, generating nearly 3.5 million views.
  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee tweeted about the polysilicon trade issue after the event, resulting in more than 60 retweets and 150 likes on the issue.

Event planning and developing strategic plans for promoting public policy issues such as this one are just part of our work for HSC. We continue to assist HSC regionally and nationally in its media relations, internal and external communications, digital and event planning, and much more.

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