Brown Statement on Chinese Decision to End Wind Power Subsidies

Brown Led 42 Senators in Letter Aimed at Advancing Steelworkers' Petition Seeking to Eliminate Protectionist Policies that Undermine American Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement today after the United States government announced that China has ended subsidies for wind turbine manufacturers.

“This is a step in the right direction for American manufacturers. Ohio manufacturers who make wind turbine components can compete with anyone in the world. But when China provides illegal subsidies to boost its own industries, that’s not competing—it’s cheating,” Brown said. “We’ve seen the damage Chinese subsidies have had on American manufacturers, particularly when American stimulus dollars went to Chinese wind manufacturers – companies that had an unfair advantage because they were subsidized by the Chinese government. By taking a strong stance against unfair Chinese subsidies, the Obama Administration is not sitting idly by as China races to the forefront of clean energy production.

“The United States cannot replace its dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on clean energy technology abroad. I’m hopeful that China’s decision to end these clean energy subsidies is one more step towards Ohio wind turbine manufacturers competing on a level playing field and adding good-paying jobs,” Brown continued.

In September, the United Steelworkers 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. Last 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.

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.

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. This Congress, he reintroduced 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. 

Brown is also an original sponsor of the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2011, legislation that would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers that undermine American workers and domestic manufacturing by reinstating “Super 301” authority. Sections 301-310 of the Trade Act of 1974 address trade barriers that violate U.S. rights under a trade agreement or represent discriminatory practices that undermine U.S. Commerce. Section 310 of the act, also known as “Super 301,” requires the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to examine and report on the most egregious trade barriers that adversely affect American exports. If the USTR identifies a measure as a “priority foreign country practice,” it is required to initiate a full Section 301 investigation. Super 301 is intended to promote U.S. exports and to signal to our trading partners that certain actions which adversely affect U.S. commerce will warrant immediate action.

Timeline of Events

March 2010: In the wake of a report revealing that a clean-energy stimulus grant program paid out more than $1 billion to foreign manufacturers, Brown join colleagues in sending a letter to the Obama administration urging the suspension of the program until it can be fixed. The senators are fighting to ensure stimulus funds are awarded to projects that will create jobs in the United States. Brown announces legislation to extend “Buy American” standards to all clean energy projects, no matter public or private, that seek stimulus funds. The proposal also would ensure that grant money is distributed only to renewable energy projects that preserve and create jobs in the United States.

June 2010: Sen. Brown joins United Steelworkers and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to announce an unprecedented 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.

August 2010: USW reaches an agreement between the United Steelworkers (USW) and two of China’s leading power generation companies that will enable production of clean energy components in the United States.

September 2010: United Steelworkers today files a petition accusing China of violating World Trade Organization rules by subsidizing exports of clean energy equipment.

October 2010: Brown leads a group of 43 senators in sending a letter to President Obama in support of the USW petition, urging the administration to act upon China’s unfair trade practices that were identified by the Steelworkers.

December 2010: United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk files WTO complaint against Special Fund for Wind Power Equipment Manufacturing (Special Fund) subsidies.

June 2011: China ends certain wind power equipment subsidies.

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