Dispute settlement efforts against China could aid domestic steel

Dec 29, 2010 | 01:08 PM |

The U.S. decision to pursue a dispute settlement with China on wind power subsidies at the World Trade Organization (WTO) could have multiple benefits for the domestic steel industry and the United Steelworkers union (USW).

The Obama administration last week called on the WTO to investigate whether Chinese wind power manufacturers are receiving illegal subsidies. The USW on Sept. 9 filed a 5,800-page trade case, known as the "301 petition," outlining China's abuses in the "green energy" sector. The case seeks settlement on issues related to Chinese restrictions on access to critical materials; its practice of prohibited subsidies contingent on export performance or domestic content; discrimination against imported goods and foreign firms; technology transfer requirements for foreign investors; and trade-distorting domestic subsidies.

Michelle Applebaum, a steel industry analyst with Steel Market Intelligence, Chicago, said a successful resolution of the green-energy case would aid the domestic steel industry. She said the Obama administration's support of numerous trade cases with China helps domestic steel to the extent that China "at times has engaged in seemingly predatory protectionist trade practices in steel."....

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