Steelworkers want Obama to sue China over green energy subsidy

"Green jobs are key to our future," said Leo W Gerad, International President of the United Steel Workers (USW) union.

He made the remarks after the union filed a comprehensive trade case under Section 301 of the trade law, identifying a broad array of Chinese policies and practices that threaten the future of America's alternative and renewable energy sector.

"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," Gerad said.

"It's a national priority to reduce our dependence on foreign energy supplies. But if all we do is exchange our dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on Chinese alternative and renewable energy production equipment, we will have traded away our nation's energy, economic and job security," he said in a statement.

The 5,800-page submission identifies five major areas of protectionist and predatory practices utilised by the Chinese to develop their green sector at the expense of production and job creation here in the US.

Under the law, the Obama Administration has 45 days from the date of filing to determine whether to accept the petition for further action. This will put the Administration's decision date on or before October 24.
Applauding the United Steel Workers for filing this petition, Senator Sherrod Brown urged the Administration to work without delay alongside workers and businesses to challenge China's trade practices at the WTO.

"Clean energy represents the future of manufacturing. Acting now means that we won't displace America's dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on Chinese-made clean energy technology," he said.

"There is nothing normal or fair about the way China trades. If we are going to compete in the global clean energy manufacturing industry, we need strong trade enforcement," Brown said.

"Every day we delay enforcing trade rules, China spends USD 51 million a day to speed past us in the race to lead the world in clean energy manufacturing, while elbowing competition out of the way through unfair subsidies and discriminatory tactics," he said.
Brown is the author of the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act, which requires the Administration to take action against the most egregious mercantilist trade practices identified in the annual National Trade Estimates report.
He has been working to promote the competitiveness of the American clean energy industry.

In August, he praised an agreement between the United Steel Workers and two of China's leading power generation companies that will enable production of clean energy components in the US.

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