USW claims Chinese practices threaten US energy sector

The US United Steelworkers (USW) union has claimed that Chinese policies and practices are threatening the future of the US alternative and renewable energy sector.

Representatives of the USW filed a petition with the office of the US Trade Representative this week, identifying five major areas of protectionist and predatory practices it said have been used by China to develop its green sector at the expense of production and job creation in the US.

The union alleges that China has used hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, performance requirements, preferential practices and other trade-illegal activities to advance its domination of the sector.

Under US law, the Obama administration has 45 days from the date of filing to determine whether to accept the petition for further action.

’Green jobs are key to our future,’ said Leo Gerard, international president of the USW. ’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 US] can’t afford to cede more of its manufacturing base to China.

The USW points out that the Obama qdministration and Congress have spent considerable time and effort promoting green jobs as a vital component of a long-term growth strategy. It adds that if China’s illegal actions are left unchecked, the promise of green jobs will not come to fruition.

’[The US] is losing its leadership of this sector, in large part because of China’s plans to control this industry no matter what,’ said USW vice-president Tom Conway. ’They’re breaking every rule in the book.’