Levin presses Obama to ‘promptly investigate’ China on green energy

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) on Wednesday urged President Obama to quickly act on allegations that China’s green-energy subsidies are violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Levin, in a letter to the White House, backs the United Steelworkers’ formal petition to the U.S. Trade Representative last week. Senators including Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are also backing the Steelworkers’ petition.

“It has become alarmingly obvious that China seeks to dominate the renewable energy industry through measures that discriminate against foreign manufacturers in this important and growing field,” Levin writes, calling on the trade representative to “promptly investigate.”

The union alleges that various Chinese subsidies and preferences for domestic firms are harming U.S. companies and freezing them out of a growing market. The union wants the administration to bring a case against China before the WTO.

Levin, an ally of his state’s manufacturing sector, said the union’s claims are accurate.

“With green technologies promising to be a growth sector in manufacturing, American companies cannot afford to compete with a Chinese government willing to break international trade rules and norms,” Levin writes. “The Chinese government’s requirement to use domestic suppliers and production for green and renewable technology is patently unfair.”

“It also requires a significant percentage of these products to be exported, in order to guarantee that its domestic companies will dominate this important sector,” he added.