U.S. Formally Petitions WTO on Alleged Chinese Clean Energy Violations

An update to my blog post of September 23: the Obama administration has lodged a protest with the World Trade Organization. Prompted by the United Steel Workers Union petitioning of the White House, the accusation is that China is providing its domestic clean energy manufacturers with large benefits that violate international trade agreements.

solar energy, solar panels

China Based Solar Cell Production

It was recently reported that China now has over 40% of the solar PV energy manufacturing capacity globally. This was accomplished in less than 7 years. A product of systemic WTO violations by China? Hard to know.

While the outcome of this filing will take years, it is significant in that it’s the first US clean energy-related trade dispute which may receive too much attention. My hope is that the U.S. government will not lay all the blame on our lack of competitiveness on this less than clear trade dispute. The U.S. lost its clean energy-manufacturing base over the last 10 years by lack of long term, WTO legal stimulation and support measures. By some studies, the U.S. has lost over 2 million jobs as a result. It’s early in the global solar market development game and the first to market players are establishing themselves. Most of them are in Asia and Europe who have been reaping the employment benefits. Hopefully our government leaders will not focus entirely on the WTO proceedings which will be a distraction from the real need: substantive long term focus on stimulating and supporting US industries.

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