The United Steelworkers (USW) union has filed a comprehensive trade case
under Section 301 of the trade law identifying a broad array of Chinese
policies and practices which it says threatens the future of America’s
alternative and renewable energy sector.
According to a statement released on Thursday, the case alleges that China
has utilized hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, performance
requirements, preferential practices and other trade-illegal activities to
advance its domination of the sector.
The USW filed the petition with the office of United States Trade
Representative. The 5,800-page submission identifies five major areas of
protectionist and predatory practices utilized by the Chinese to develop
their green sector at the expense of production and job creation here in the
U.S., the USW said. 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 Oct.
“Green jobs are key to our future,” USW International President Leo Gerard
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.
America can’t afford to cede more of its manufacturing base to China. 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.”
The USW noted “that the Obama Administration and Congress have spent
considerable time and effort on promoting green jobs as a vital component of
a long-term growth strategy. From climate change legislation to training
programs, there has been an emphasis on clean and green technologies. But if
China’s illegal actions are left unchecked, the promise of green jobs will
not come to fruition.”
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America with 850,000
workers involved in virtually every facet of production associated with
alternative and renewable energy equipment, from steel to wind turbine
“America is losing its leadership of this sector in large part because of
China’s plans to control this industry no matter what,” USW Vice President
Tom Conway said. “They’re breaking every rule in the book.”
Last year, America discovered that its tax dollars were to be used to
support a wind energy project largely based on Chinese-produced equipment,
such as wind turbines. “With high unemployment, less than optimal growth,
and rising budget deficits, America can’t afford to let China cheat any
longer,” Conway said.
“This case draws a line in the sand,” Gerard added. “The petition presents
comprehensive facts and data regarding China’s illegal acts under
international trade rules. We can’t rely on unending diplomatic niceties and
non-productive photo opportunities masquerading as serious talks. We’re
hemorrhaging jobs, seeing our bilateral trade deficit skyrocket and
jeopardizing our future.”
During the next 45 days, the USW plans to continue discussions with the
Administration over the contents of the petition. At the same time, the USW
will seek to enlist the support of elected officials and concerned citizens
to urge the Administration to accept the case, take remedial action, and
help ensure a brighter future.
“Our message will be quite clear,” Gerard said. “Enough is enough. It’s time
to fight for our future.”
Because of the size of the petition, an executive summary of the case is
available at http://listserv.steelworkers.org/t/176556/1206326/137830/0
For his part, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, released this statement on
the USW’s Section 301 filing.