China Defends Wind Power Subsidies

In the wake of a formal complaint by the United States, China is defending its wind-industry subsidies, saying they comply with World Trade Organization rules. A Ministry of Commerce press release, translated through Google, said “measures on the development of wind energy” are “conducive to energy saving and environmental protection” and are “an important means of achieving sustainable development.”

At issue is a fund set up by China that awards grants to domestic makers of wind turbines as well as wind-turbine parts and components. The United States, in response to a petition from the United Steelworkers, charged the grants violate WTO rules because they are “contingent on wind power equipment manufacturers using parts and components made in China.”

Tazigou wind power station, Fuxin, Liaoning province, China

image via Xinhua News Agency

Under the WTO process, the two countries have two months to resolve the dispute. If it remains unsettled, the United States could then request that a dispute panel be convened. Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official news agency, quote the Ministry of Commerce saying, “”China will carefully study the U.S. request for mediation and deal with the dispute based on WTO rules. We will reserve relevant rights.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.