ERJ staff report (TB)
Washington DC --At the request of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has opened an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act into alleged unfair trade practices in China's â€œgreenâ€ technology sector.
Section 301 allows the US to impose trade sanctions against foreign countries that violate international trade agreements or encourage trade practices that discriminate against US commerce.
The USW sent USTR a 5,800-page petition Sept. 9, accusing China of discriminating against US commerce in alternative and renewable energy products ranging from solar panels and wind turbines to advanced batteries and energy-efficient vehicles.
Among other things, the USW said China:
- Restricted access to critical materials mined or produced within its borders;
- Granted subsidies to domestic green technology companies contingent on export performance or domestic contest; and
- Discriminated against imported goods and foreign firms.
â€œGreen technology will be an engine for jobs in the future, and this (Obama) administration is committed to ensuring a level playing field for American workers, businesses and green technology entrepreneurs,â€ said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk in a press release. â€œWe take the USW's claims very seriously, and we are vigorously investigating them, in light of the large number of allegations and the extensive documentation accompanying them.â€
USW International President Leo W. Gerard applauded the USTR decision to open the investigation. â€œPresident Obama showed again today that fighting for US workers and their jobs is his top priority,â€ Mr. Gerard said in a press release.
In April 2009, the USW petitioned the Obama administration for relief under Section 421 of the Trade Act, claiming that Chinese passenger and light truck tyre imports were hurting the domestic tyre manufacturing industry and causing widespread layoffs. Five months later, President Obama approved three years' worth of tariffs against Chinese tyres.
From Open letter to President Obama from USW
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)