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The United Steelworkers (USW) union has filed a comprehensive trade case under Section 301 of the trade law, identifying a broad array of Chinese policies and practices that the USW says threaten the future of the U.S. alternative and renewable energy sector. The case alleges that China has utilized hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, performance requirements, preferential practices and other trade-illegal activities to advance its domination of the sector.

The USW filed the petition with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The 5,800-page submission identifies five major areas of protectionist and predatory practices utilized by the Chinese to develop their green sector at the expense of production and job creation here in the U.S., according to the USW. Under the law, the Obama administration has 45 days from the date of filing to determine whether to accept the petition for further action. This will put the administration's decision date on or before Oct. 24.

"It's a national priority to reduce our dependence on foreign energy supplies," says Leo W. Gerard, international president of the USW. "But if all we do is exchange our dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on Chinese alternative and renewable energy production equipment, we will have traded away our nation's energy, economic and job security."

The USW points out that the Obama administration and Congress have spent considerable time and effort on promoting green jobs as a vital component of a long-term growth strategy. From climate change legislation to training programs, there has been an emphasis on clean and green technologies, according to the USW, which has workers involved in many facets of production associated with alternative and renewable energy equipment, from steel to wind turbine blade-making.

During the next 45 days, the USW plans to continue discussions with the administration over the contents of the petition. At the same time, the USW will seek to enlist the support of elected officials and concerned citizens to urge the administration to accept the case and take remedial action.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers


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