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China Launches Investigation of U.S. Support for Renewable Energy

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced last week that it will launch a trade barrier investigation into policy support and subsidies provided to the U.S. renewable energy sector. The probe was requested by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products and the China New Energy Chamber of Commerce, which allege that U.S. government policy support and subsidies violate World Trade Organization rules and are constraining the development of China’s renewable energy industry. The investigation will focus on six programs affecting wind, solar and hydroelectric energy in the states of Washington, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey and California. A final determination is due by May 25, 2012, and MOFCOM said that if violations are found it will “adopt appropriate measures” that could include filing a complaint at the WTO.

China’s action follows a decision earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Commerce to initiate antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of solar cells from China. Press reports indicate that China’s solar industry association had threatened to respond with AD/CV complaints on U.S. polysilicon, which is used to make solar cells, but that MOFCOM decided to undertake a more comprehensive review.

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