From The Hill's E2 Wire:
China is using illegal subsidies to ensure it controls the nascent green energy sector, the United Steelworkers charged Thursday.
The union filed a trade case with the Obama administration to back up its charges. It wants the U.S. to sue China in the World Trade Organization to get China to eliminate its subsidies.
“Green jobs are key to our future,” said Leo Gerard, the union’s president, in a statement Thursday. “Right now, China is taking every possible step — many of them illegal under international trade laws — to ensure that it will control that sector. America can’t afford to cede more of its manufacturing base to China.”
The case could eventually force the White House to make a tough political choice that pits support for U.S. green technology — which is at the heart of its economic agenda — against relations with China.
President Obama imposed tariffs on tires from China in response to a petition from the Steelworkers union last year, which soured the U.S.-Sino relationship. Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama and repeated criticism of China's monetary policy from Democratic and Republican lawmakers has also inflamed tensions.
The Obama administration has 45 days under U.S. trade law to determine whether it will launch an investigation.
The petition is being filed as Democrats plan to push their "Make it in America" agenda in Congress to support U.S. manufacturing. The administration and congressional Democrats see that initiative as vital to their election campaign.
The 5,800-page petition filed with the U.S. Trade Representative alleges that China is violating World Trade Organization rules with hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and other preferential treatment that freezes out foreign companies from the nation’s massive green energy market.
The petition alleges that China is using quotas and other restrictions to block export of raw materials vital to production of solar panels, wind turbines and advanced batteries; a range of grant and loan subsidies for renewable power projects that use Chinese-made components; and various other measures that undercut U.S. companies....MORE