[img_assist|nid=193009|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=259|height=194]Sept. 9, 2010 (GreenAnswers) – The United Steelworkers union filed a complaint with the Obama administration Thursday morning alleging that China is in violation of trade agreements due to its support of its domestic clean energy industries.
The USW, the largest industrial labor union in the U.S., is accusing China of illegally propping up local clean energy industries through policies such as subsidies, cheap loans, land grants, and tax credits, in violation of World Trade Organization rules. These policies, the USW and many trade experts allege, result in making China’s exports in the clean energy industry much less expensive than foreign competitors.
In its petition, the USW has asked the Obama administration to begin talks with the Chinese over these policies and to take the matter to the WTO if the issues are not resolved.
Retaliatory trade action would not be new to the Obama administration, which has already imposed high tariffs on tire imports from China, as well as on a number of other specific items, such as steel wire. These retaliatory actions have all been in response to perceived unfair trade policies inside China.
[img_assist|nid=193008|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=250|height=118]The Obama administration will have 45 days to accept or deny the USW’s complaint, placing the timing of any decision just before the midterm elections.
While Obama has stressed the importance of a strong domestic clean energy industry, relatively little progress has been made on that front. In contrast, China currently has more than one million workers employed in clean energy industries.