Lawmakers urge Obama challenge China on clean energy

Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:28am GMT

WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - More than 180 U.S. lawmakers urged President Barack Obama on Tuesday to fight back against what they called China's "unfair" tactics to dominate global production of clean energy technology.

"Through a variety of predatory trade practices, China's industrial policy seeks to give its manufacturers an unfair advantage in the green technology revolution and to capture this emerging sector," the group of mostly Democrats and at least two Republican lawmakers said in a letter.

"If left unchecked, these practices will achieve their intended effect, which is to drive American manufacturers from this critical emerging sector," they said.

The letter came on the eve of vote in the House of Representatives on a bill to give the White House a new tool to protect U.S. companies from China's currency practices, which many lawmakers also believe are unfair.

China's clean energy "practices, combined with Chinese currency policy and other predatory practices, are already taking a heavy toll on the U.S. green economy and U.S. trade balances," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin said in a separate statement.

The group urged the U.S. Trade Representative's office to accept a "Section 301" petition filed earlier this month by the United Steelworkers union asking for an investigation of "illegal" Chinese activities to spur development of the world's leading clean energy technologies within its borders.

Those technologies include wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy equipment.

USTR has until Oct. 24 to accept the petition, which could lead to one or more cases at the World Trade Organization if China does not address the concerns.

The trade office recently filed a pair of new trade complaints against Beijing at the WTO.   Continued...

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