US challenges Chinese wind power subsidies at WTO
WASHINGTON: The long list of trade disputes between the United States and China lengthened further, as Washington asked the WTO to examine subsidies to the Chinese wind power sector.
Just weeks before President Hu Jintao's January visit to the United States, the US government said it had asked the World Trade Organization to deal with allegedly illegal subsidies that favor Chinese manufacturing firms.
The United States alleges China offers multi-milliondollar grants to only companies making turbines and other equipment with Chinese parts, a violation of trade rules.
"China appears to provide subsidies that are prohibited under WTO rules," US trade officials said in a statement announcing their request for WTO arbitration.
The request means that representatives from Beijing and Washington will have to discuss a solution within the WTO.
If no agreed solution is found, the United States can ask the World Trade Organization to move toward sanctions.
China's commerce ministry was not immediately available for comment.
The claim comes as the two economic superpowers face-off over a range of export issues from tires to beef to currency levels, and amid anger in Washington that its exports are being stiffed.
Obama is expected to press his Chinese counterpart to open the door to more US imports when the two leaders meet in January, a means of bolstering the US recovery and rebalancing global trade flows, which are seen as unfairly favoring Beijing.
"These subsidies effectively operate as a barrier to US exports to China," said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, vowing Washington's was committed to "ensuring a level playing field." The grants, said to be worth as much as 22.5 million dollars, are part of a vast Chinese effort to become a world-beater in green technology. -Afp