Steelworkers Push Obama On China Trade
Union charges that China illegally boosts its green energy technology industry
While heralding the president's decision to put solar panels on the White House roof, a union-backed coalition says it would be an "empty gesture" if the administration didn't also address trade-distorting subsidies from China, the world's leading maker of solar panels.
In a letter to President Obama, the Alliance for Manufacturing, a coalition of the United Steelworkers and several manufacturers, demanded action on the issue. AAM Executive Director Scott Paul wrote, "Our goal must not only be to install American-produced solar panels in the White House, but to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to reap the benefits of clean energy generated with equipment produced here at home. This opportunity is in jeopardy."
At issue is the coalition's bid to push the administration to address China's alleged illegal practices in violation of international trade agreements to boost their own green energy technology industries. Last month the steelworkers filed a petition with the U.S. Trade Representative over China that documents claims that the Communist country stimulates and protects its green technology makers.
While the White House solar panels are to be made in the United States, most Americans buy the less-expensive Chinese versions which dominate the world market. "It would be one thing if China were achieving this dominance fairly. But it routinely flouts existing trade agreements. American businesses and workers both want and demand a level playing field and should not be disadvantaged by China's unfair practices. Admirably, you have been outspoken in your advocacy for green technology and renewable resources. Green jobs are the key to the future vibrancy of the U.S. economy, and critical to reducing our dependence on foreign energy supplies," wrote Paul.
Here is his full letter sent:
Dear Mr. President:
We applaud the recent decision to install solar panels on the White House. It sends an important message to the country and the world that the United States is committed to the use of green technologies that will bolster our economy, improve our environment and move the nation closer to energy independence.
Our goal must not only be to install American-produced solar panels on the White House, but to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to reap the benefits of clean energy generated with equipment produced here at home.
This opportunity is in jeopardy. In violation of international trade agreements, China's communist party leaders have imposed more than 80 laws, regulations and practices--including massive subsidies--that set prices undercutting U.S. competitors, restrict access to critical raw materials, block the importation of goods produced by U.S. manufacturers, and force the transfer of green technology from the U.S. to China.
All of this is detailed in The United Steelworkers (USW) Section 301 petition filed last month with the U.S. Trade Representative. The petition documents how China illegally stimulates and protects its producers of green technology exports--ranging from wind and solar energy products to advanced batteries and energy-efficient vehicles.
The petition demonstrates how these illegally subsidized and supported Chinese renewable energy products have weakened the stimulus effect of your Recovery Act spending, and how these illegal Chinese practices threaten the future of America's renewable energy sector.
A study by the Economic Policy Institute shows the U.S. will lose more than 500,000 jobs to China in 2010 alone. Losing green technology to China is not the sole reason for these continuing job losses, but it plays a significant part.
The facts are startling:
-- China's exports of green goods rose more than 400 percent between 2004 and 2009.
-- China is on track to make almost half of the world's wind turbines this year and will produce more than 50 percent of the world's solar panels. Nearly all--95 percent--of its solar panels are exported to the U.S. and other countries
-- At the same time, U.S. wind manufacturing was cut by a third in 2009, and U.S. exports now make up only 3.7 percent of Europe's solar cell and panel market, compared to China's 34 percent share.
It would be one thing if China were achieving this dominance fairly. But it routinely flouts existing trade agreements. American businesses and workers both want and demand a level playing field and should not be disadvantaged by China's unfair practices.
Admirably, you have been outspoken in your advocacy for green technology and renewable resources. Green jobs are the key to the future vibrancy of the U.S. economy, and critical to reducing our dependence on foreign energy supplies.
As we all know, this is certainly not the first time in recent years that China has sought to dominate a U.S. market. Just more than a year ago, you courageously stood up to China's attempt to flood America with Chinese-manufactured tires--and imposed tariffs that stemmed the bleeding away of tire manufacturing jobs from the U.S. work force. You took a strong stand on behalf of America's working men and women, and it worked.
With the October 24th deadline for action on the 301 petition only days away, we believe that this is an opportunity to end China's opportunistic and illegal practices and help create a level playing field for America's talented and highly skilled green businesses and workers.
Alliance for American Manufacturing
Available at Amazon.com:
Read the latest political news.
- Banks Need to Pay for Foreclosure Shenanigans
- The Distinctly American Tradition of Charity
- Giving Away a Fortune to Keep the American Dream Alive
- Public Service Groups That Are Making a Difference
- Public Service: Citizenship Is More than Paying Taxes and Voting
- Public Service Is the Antidote For Voter Anger
- Raising People's Quality of Life Drives Public Service
- Public Service: Ordinary Americans Changing Communities for the Better
- How to Make a Career in Public Service
- How to Choose the Best Volunteering Option
- Recession Driving Changes in Corporate Philanthropy
- How to Avoid Charity Scams
- The Pros and Cons of Military Service
- Compulsory National Service Would Strengthen American Citizenship
- Compulsory National Service Would Undermine the American Character
- Why China Has a Point About Quantitative Easing
- Out of Play
- Eliminating Poverty: Lesson From Childhood
- Wall Street Had a Meltdown, and All We Got (Besides the Bill) Was an Interminable Argument
- Changing Our Tune to Natural Gas
- Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision Will Warp Policymaking
- Citizens United Decision: Money at Issue Funds Speech Not Candidates
- Education and Wealth: Strongest Predictors of a Long Life
- 'Citizen Journalism' Fad is Not Journalism
- Life's Little Lows Big Part of Going to High School
- Happiness is a Matter of Perspective
- Binge Drinking Numbers Rising
- The Republicans' Bizarre Attacks on Elites
- Joe Klein and Diane Sawyer Tour the Real Reality
- Troubled Times: When Mark Zuckerberg's Generosity Is Not Good Enough
- Why on Earth Does America Want a Stronger Chinese Currency?
- A Nation of Peasants?
- Public Sector Workers Are the New Privileged Elite Class
- Raising Retirement Age Will Help Save Social Security
- Cutting Benefits Isn't the Way to Save Social Security
- How the New Consumer Bureau Will Help You
- Setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- The Truth Behind UFO Sightings and the U.S. Air Force
- American Dream of Home Ownership Has Become a Nightmare
- 5 Traits of the New American Consumer
- Stoned on Righteousness
- Frank Assessment of Teacher Performance Not Pleasant but Useful
- Large-Spirited America
- America: A Labor of Love
- America: Love's Labor Lost
- What We Need to Do to Save America's Middle Class
- Out of the Media Muck an Idiot Emerges
- Dilemma of the Open Megaphone
- Let's Keep Our Enemies Straight
- Can the CIA Put a U.S.-Born al Qaeda Figure on its 'Kill List'?
- A Christian Voice Argues for Banning Nuclear Weapons
- Will New York's Mosque Protests Aid Terrorist Recruiters?
- Repealing 14th Amendment Would Not Fix Immigration System
- 14th Amendment Doesn't Make Illegal Aliens' Children Citizens
- Immigration Reform Requires More Than Getting Tough or Feeling Good
- Defending a New Domain: The Pentagon's Cyberstrategy
- Before Katrina, There Was New York's 1896 Heat Wave
- EPA Surrenders to NRA on Gun Control Issue
- Rare Sighting: Common Sense from the Bench
- Is the Great Mosque Debate Making Us Stupid?
- Ground Zero Mosque Madness
- Ground Zero Mosque: Islamophobia? Not Really
- Gingrich and Palin: Twin Towers of Intolerance
- Detroit's Agony, America's Choice
- Iraq: U.S. Combat Troops' Departure Leaves Uncertainty in its Wake
- Corporate Rotten Eggs
- Strengthening the Political - Military Relationship
- A New Plan For Nuclear Postures
- Why the National Security Establishment Is Outdated
- Protecting the Pentagon Budget
- Approving the New START Treaty Keeps America Safe
- The New START Treaty Weakens U.S. National Security
- 'Ground Zero Mosque' Controversy Shows America's New Nativism
- Ground Zero Mosque Presidential Paradox
- Lack of Foresight Let 'Ground Zero Mosque' Controversy Balloon
- Republicans Hit Obama for Ground Zero Mosque Comments
- Obama's Ground Zero Mosque Mess
- The Sum of Our Parts
- The End of Books
- Steven Slater Airline Meltdown Hardly a Surprise
- Conversation on Race? We're Not Ready
- Everyone a Bigot?
- Let's Preserve Freedom at Ground Zero
- 10 Things You Didn't Know About Social Security
- Illogical Immigration
- Constitutional Amendments and Citizenship Rights
- Iran - The Next War
- How to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits
- How Working Longer Helps Build Retirement Security
- Social Security Inflation Adjustment Debate
- 21 Ways to Make Extra Money in Retirement
- Will You Run Out of Money Before You Run Out of Years?
- The Economy's Lasting Impact on Your Retirement
- Unconventional Retirement Investing Strategies
- Another Retirement Challenge for Women: Income Gender Gap
- 15 Ways to Tell if You Are Ready to Retire
- Investing Your Social Security Check? Consider These Factors
- Alternatives to Traditional Retirement
- 10 Uncommon Sources of Income in Retirement
- Sizing Up Your Retirement Nest Egg Needs
- Biggest Sources of Retirement Income
- Assembling a Sturdy Retirement Portfolio
- Retirement Savings Strategies for Late Starters
- 7 Reasons to Downsize in Retirement
- How to Tell if You Are Saving Enough for Retirement
Steelworkers Push Obama On China Trade
(c) 2010 U.S. News & World Report