WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2010)—China has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to dominate the world's alternative and renewable energy sectors, endangering U.S. industry and jobs in the process, the United Steelworkers union alleged in a Section 301 trade petition it filed with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today.
Subsidies, performance requirements, preferential practices and other trade-illegal activities have formed the crux of China's attempted domination of “green” technologies ranging from wind and solar energy products to alternative batteries and energy-efficient vehicles, the USW said.
“It's a national priority to reduce our dependence on foreign energy supplies,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard in a press release. “But if all we do is exchange our dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on Chinese alternative and renewable energy production equipment, we will have trade away our nation's energy, economic and job security.”
Section 301 of the Trade Act provides a formal framework for the U.S. to determine if a foreign government is violating trade agreements and causing injury to domestic industry. If the USTR grants a petition from an interested party, it must then open the case to public comments and hearings.
The USTR has 45 days to issue a notice in the Federal Register as to whether it will grant the USW request for a Section 301 investigation. During that time, the USW will continue discussions with the Obama administration over the contents of its 5,800-page petition and seek to enlist the support of elected officials and the public, the union said.
In April 2009, the USW filed for relief from increased imports of Chinese passenger and light truck tires under Section 421 of the Trade Act, which allows domestic industries claiming injury from an upsurge in Chinese imports to seek damages. President Obama approved a three-year program of tariffs against Chinese tire imports in September 2009.