WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement today regarding the Obama Administration’s next steps for addressing illegal practices by the Chinese that undermine American clean energy manufacturing:
“With China on track to make half of the world’s wind turbines and solar panels, American manufacturers cannot afford a delay on trade enforcement,” Brown said. “I commend Ambassador Kirk and his staff for standing up for manufacturers and pursuing consultations with the People’s Republic of China on the array of unfair subsidies and practices relating to clean energy technology.”
“This is a long process that requires commitment and we cannot let up,” Brown continued. “I stand by ready to assist and ensure Congress supports this process through to a successful conclusion. The United States cannot replace its dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on clean energy technology made in China. American manufacturing must lead the way – and to do this, they need a level playing field.”
In September, the United Steelworkers today filed a petition accusing China of violating World Trade Organization rules by subsidizing exports of clean energy equipment. In support of the petition, Brown led a group of 43 senators in sending a letter to President Obama urging the administration to act upon China’s unfair trade practices that were identified by the Steelworkers. To read the full text of the letter, click here.
Brown has been working to promote the competitiveness of the American clean energy industry. In August, Brown praised an agreement between the USW and two of China's leading power generation companies that will enable production of clean energy components in the United States. Following reports that a West Texas wind farm receiving $450 million in Recovery Act funding would purchase wind turbine components made in China, Brown called for strong domestic sourcing requirements. He also joined his colleagues to introduce the American Renewable Energy Jobs Act, legislation which would ensure that grant money distributed through the "1603" wind energy program is given only to clean energy projects that preserve and create jobs in the United States.
In June, USW and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced a new partnership to make the U.S. a leader in wind energy. The two groups released a framework agreement creating a "Partnership for Progress" to accelerate the development and deployment of wind energy manufacturing in the U.S. The partnership followed intervention from Brown and his calls for domestic sourcing for the clean energy supply chain.
More than 70 percent of the components of clean energy systems are produced outside the U.S. Brown is fighting to bolster domestic production of clean energy components and to make Ohio the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing. In May, Sen. Brown introduced legislation that would expand and improve the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) program. The Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act would extend the program and allow for grants in lieu of tax credits. This would enable the program to reach additional companies that would otherwise be unable to utilize the program - new companies that do not yet have tax liabilities or companies that struggle to find credit in today's tight financial market. The SEAM Act also adjusts the selection criteria to give higher priority to facilities that manufacture - rather than assemble - goods and components in the U.S.