Getting tough on China key issue for Ohio companies ahead of primaries

Ohio companies focus on getting tough on China ahead of primary elections

FOX Business’ Connell McShane reports from First Solar where the CEO, Mark Widmar, says competing with China is challenging and argues that there is no level playing field.

Ohio voters head to the polls for the crowded Republican Senate midterm primary election in one week, and companies in the state want the focus to be on getting tough on China. 

Ohio has voted increasingly Republican in recent elections, and now, as the race to fill the seat being vacated in November by retiring Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman heats up, many hopefuls have indeed focused on taking a tough stance on China. 

First Solar CEO Mark Widmar says competing with China is challenging and argues that there is no level playing field. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool / Associated Press)

FOX Business' Connell McShane reported on Wednesday from First Solar in Ohio where the CEO of the solar company, Mark Widmar, said competing with China is challenging. 

"We know that we don’t have a level playing field given what’s going on in China right now and the heavily subsidized industries and really a strategy that’s focused around world dominance in emerging industries, such as renewable energy," Widmar said during an interview that aired on "Mornings with Maria" on Wednesday.

"We need to fix that," he stressed. 

First Solar is a manufacturer of solar panels. 

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McShane noted that Widmar said he is pushing for a manufacturing tax credit and would actually prefer that over higher tariffs, although he thinks the higher tariffs are currently necessary. 

McShane also reported that the CEO of a startup in Ohio called American Nitrile has a similar sentiment. 

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Jacob Block, the 29-year-old founder and CEO of the startup, which produces medical and nonmedical, latex-free nitrile gloves, would also like to see tax incentives, but also commends the government for certain actions taken thus far. 

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"The Infrastructure bill now states that any federal agency that buys PPE [personal protective equipment] needs to buy U.S. produced PPE if and when available," Block said. "So that’s going to be a big deal for us. The VA [Veterans Affairs], the DOD [Department of Defense], HHS [the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services], the national stockpile, those are all big buyers of our product and that will help stabilize the industry." 

McShane noted that "enforcement of the bill is key" for Block.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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