China agrees to halt some subsidies
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China agreed Tuesday to end several hundred million dollars worth of wind energy equipment subsidies targeted in a complaint filed with the World Trade Organization by the White House's top trade negotiator.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk filed the case after the United Steelworkers union complained in September that massive Chinese government subsidies to its green energy industry threatened U.S. jobs and energy security. Mr. Kirk said the administration filed the complaint "so that American manufacturers can produce wind turbine components here in the United States and sell them to China."
The subsidies, in the form of grants ranging from $6.7 million to $22.5 million, gave Chinese companies an advantage worth several hundred million dollars since 2008, Mr. Kirk said.
USW President Leo W. Gerard said eliminating the subsidies meant there "is one less distortion in the marketplace for clean energy technology products."
The Alliance for American Manufacturing, whose members include the USW and major manufacturers such as U.S. Steel, called the announcement "a good first step." Executive Director Scott Paul urged the Obama administration to press Chinese officials about other trade policies detailed in the USW's report to Mr. Kirk.
The union gave Mr. Kirk a 5,800-page litany of China's "protectionists and predatory practices," including export restrictions on materials needed to manufacture renewable energy equipment and imposing local content requirements on Chinese manufacturers.
"We still have a long way to go in creating a level playing field for American workers and businesses," Mr. Paul said.
First Published June 8, 2011 12:00 am