United States

United States

Steelworkers union accuses China of 'illegal' practices

UNITED STATES: The United Steelworkers (USW) union has filed a petition alleging that Chinese trade practices threaten the US renewable energy sector.

US Steelworkers president Leo Gerard
US Steelworkers president Leo Gerard

The filing with the United States Trade Representative accuses China of protectionist and predatory practices, including preferential policies and hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies.

Many of the practices are in violation of China’s obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation, the union said.

A confidential version of the petition contains information on specific green technology companies, which the USW says it will not make public because it fears "retaliation by Chinese authorities and business interests".

USW president Leo Gerrard said: "Right now, China is taking every possible step – many of them illegal under international trade laws – to ensure that it will control that sector."

The case accuses China of illegal activities in five areas:

  • Trade-distorting domestic subsidies
  • Subsidies contingent on export performance and domestic content
  • Discrimination against foreign firms and imported goods
  • Technology transfer requirements for foreign investors
  • Restrictions on access to critical Chinese raw materials, such as rare earths, using export quotas, taxes and licensing procedures

Secretary of commerce Gary Locke this summer expressed concern over Chinese policies that favour domestic manufacturers.  

Last Month, USW signed an agreement with Chinese turbine maker A-Power and Chinese renewable alliance Shenyang Power Group, which agreed to use US suppliers "wherever feasible".  

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