Government support for alternative energy has been a contentious subject this election, as Republicans blast Solyndra-style projects and Democrats seek additional public investments. However, U.S. renewable energy policy has now drawn a new critic: China.
The Wall Street Journal reports that China’s Commerce Ministry claims that six U.S. taxpayer-funded renewable energy projects violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and act as trade barriers to Chinese exports.
A Chinese investigation that began in November claimed that projects in the states of Washington, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California “constitute prohibited subsidies,” and “distort normal international trade” and “constitute trade barriers”
“The Commerce Ministry will adopt relevant legal measures, demands that the United States cancel parts of the measures that violate World Trade Organization rules and give Chinese renewable energy firms fair treatment,” the Commerce Ministry said.
The investigation was undertaken on behalf of groups representing Chinese exporters and renewable energy companies.
The renewable energy war between the U.S. and China has been occurring for some time now, escalating when the Obama administration proposed slapping imported chinese solar panels with a more than 31 percent tariff.
Likewise, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he would stand up to China on trade issues stemming from their allegedly unfair trade practices and even pledged to label the country as a currency manipulator his first day in office.
In the U.S., subsidies to financially troubled and bankrupt renewable energy firms have been at the center of Republican criticisms of Obama’s energy policy for months.
“Our national debt is approaching $16 trillion, and yet, President Obama wants to continue committing taxpayer dollars to risky ‘green’ jobs scheme,” said Florida Republican Representative Cliff Stearns.
More recently the debate over whether or not to reauthorize tax credits for wind energy, which Republican presidential candidate Romney has vowed to end.
“At a moment when homegrown energy – renewable energy – is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers,” Obama told a crowd in Colorado earlier this month, criticizing Romney.
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