USW Commends Administration's Action on Trade Case

Dec 22, 2010, 13:30 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

Union Seeks to Eliminate China's Protectionist and Predatory Practices in Clean Energy Technology

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today regarding the Obama administration's announcement on how it intends to address components of the USW's Section 301 trade case that seeks to eliminate China's predatory and protectionist practices and policies in the clean energy technology sector.

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"Today's announcement by the Obama administration comes as an early note of holiday cheer for those workers in the alternative and renewable energy sector who work hard, play by the rules and simply want a chance to compete," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

"The Administration has shown its commitment to enforcing the rules of trade by making it clear to the Chinese government that they will pursue U.S. interests.

"The USW's case was comprehensive and complex. The Administration faithfully consulted with the Steelworkers in identifying a three-part approach to proceeding with the case.  First, the Administration will move to resolve those matters where China could identify that its practices had changed or were changing, or where China would agree to abandon their illegal activities.

"Second, the Administration will proceed to consultations with China where they believe the data and evidence was irrefutable and where the case was ready to prosecute.

"Third, the Administration has committed to an ongoing investigatory and evaluative work plan on the remaining issues in the petition and the investigation in order to obtain relief for the American worker.

"From day one, the USW knew that the complexity and enormity of the case and the lack of transparency in the Chinese system would require that we be in this for the long haul. The Chinese have already bowed to U.S. pressure in the recent U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) talks and agreed to dismantle two of their objectionable practices.  The Obama administration has committed to addressing the remaining vast web of protectionist policies, which will require considerable effort.  The goal is not litigation; it's to end their practices.

"We share the President's goal of expanding the creation of 'green' jobs here in the United States.  The promise of green jobs, however, will not become reality if China is allowed to dominate the sector through unfair and illegal actions.  Today's announcement is just the first chapter in the saga of pushing China to live up to the commitments they have made. There's still a long way to go.

"Trust but verify is an apt phrase to use when evaluating promises made by the Chinese.  We cannot afford to simply accept more empty promises hoping that the Chinese will keep their word. Trade enforcement must be a higher priority in our nation's policy agenda and it needs to be backed up by sufficient resources and manpower to help us reignite economic growth, production and job creation here at home.

"More than 220 Members of Congress signaled their support for our case and our members appreciate their efforts.  The issue is far from over and their continuing support and oversight will be necessary to ensure that a level playing field in green technology products and services will exist," Gerard said.

The USW filed a more than 5,800 page trade case under Section 301 of the trade law on Sept. 9, 2010 against Chinese practices in five areas:

  1. Restrictions of access to critical materials;
  2. Prohibited subsidies contingent on export performance or domestic content;
  3. Discrimination against imported goods and foreign firms;
  4. Technology transfer requirements for foreign investors; and,
  5. Trade-distorting domestic subsidies.

Following a review of the case, as provided for under the statute, the USTR on Oct. 15 announced its intention to proceed with further investigation of the case for up to 90 days.  Today's announcement, made in advance of the 90-day deadline, identifies the success achieved by the Administration to date, the area it intends to proceed to formal consultations with the Chinese Government on, and those areas where further investigation and work is necessary.

The USW, in consultations with officials from the White House and the office of the United States Trade Representative, has agreed to cooperate on an ongoing work plan to ensure that action on the outstanding issues will continue.

Contacts:  Wayne Ranick +1-412-562-2444, wranick@usw.org; Gary Hubbard (202) 256-8125 , ghubbard@usw.org

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)



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