China: U.S. breaks clean-energy trade rules
Via Yahoo Finance
BEIJING (MarketWatch) — China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that a months-long investigation had revealed that U.S. support for six clean energy projects violated World Trade Organization rules and acted as barriers to trade.
State-controlled Xinhua news agency said later that the ministry found that the U.S. government provided renewable energy companies unfair grants that are prohibited under WTO rules and distorted normal trade.
The ministry’s charges are likely to heighten trade tensions between the two countries. The U.S. and China have recently sparred more frequently over clean energy issues, ranging from copyright violations of wind-power technology to subsidies for manufacturers of solar and wind-turbine components. The two countries are also at odds over China’s rare-earth quotas and imports of Iranian crude oil.
The U.S. Commerce Department last week announced a preliminary decision to impose 31% tariffs on several of China’s largest solar-panel companies that it had found guilty of dumping.
The Chinese government blasted the U.S. decision as “protectionist”
and “unreasonable,” saying it provoked trade friction and would hurt both Chinese and U.S. companies as well as the clean energy sector.
The Ministry of Commerce didn’t say Thursday how it might respond to the U.S. trade violations it had uncovered.
Four Chinese solar companies plan to hold a news conference later Thursday to respond to the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision on tariffs, which followed U.S. antisubsidy tariffs of 3% to 5% on Chinese solar companies in March
The Ministry of Commerce began scrutinizing U.S. trade subsidies and barriers in the wind, solar and hydropower industries in November, it said Thursday. It examined policies in states including New Jersey, California, Ohio, Massachusetts and Washington.
China and the U.S. have signed several cooperation agreements related to clean energy in the past three years, and in 2009 established a $150-million U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center to develop clean energy.
The two sides issued a joint statement this month, following the fourth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, pledging continued cooperation in clean energy under a plan agreed to by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and China’s National Energy Administration.