China Agrees to End Wind Power Subsidies in WTO Consultations

In what appears to be a mutually-satisfactory outcome to a 9-month trade dispute resolution process initiated by the United Steelworkers (USW), China has agreed to end its “Special Fund for Wind Power Equipment Manufacturing” subsidy program that provided grants to domestic wind power producers favoring Chinese-made components over imports. In September 2010, the USW petitioned the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate several Chinese programs it said were against WTO rules. After reviewing the petition, in December the USTR requested formal dispute settlement consultations with the WTO concerning this wind subsidy program.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a release explaining the agreement. “The United States is pleased that China has shut down this subsidy program,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “This outcome helps ensure fairness for American clean technology innovators and workers.”

The USW welcomed the outcome, but called for continued vigilance. “With this first green technology issue behind us, we encourage the Administration to continue to work to level the playing field for clean technology companies and American workers to grow sustained employment and good job opportunities,” said Leo W. Gerard, president of USW, in a statement issued on June 7.

Representatives of the Chinese wind industry were also satisfied with the outcome and did not expect it to significantly impact business. They viewed the subsidy program as unnecessary in an industry that is mature and capable of competing internationally. Many companies already purchase components globally, according to a report in the China Daily.

Image copyright Paul Anderson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence