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IBEW Supports Trade Complaint Against China


November 29, 2010

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In a Nov.15 letter to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, International President Edwin D. Hill calls for action to stop China’s government from violating world trade policy in pursuit of dominance in the green technology industry.

The letter, in support of a petition from the United Steel Workers, condemns China’s mandate that its domestic producers of wind turbines and solar panels buy all key components for those technologies at home.

Hill says because IBEW members produce a broad range of products for the renewable energy sector such as conduits, switches, circuit breakers, generators, unfair trade policies will hurt the development of a viable U.S. supply chain for these goods and set back the future of the manufacturing sector and the nation’s future energy independence and security.

The letter draws a distinction between government preference policies like “Buy America” and China’s current policies.

 Under Buy America provisions, any governmental entity purchasing goods for non-commercial use can be mandated to buy domestically-produced green equipment.  Such policies are not in violation of World Trade Organization agreements.

China, however, is mandating that private firms, not just governmental authorities, must buy Chinese-made green technologies.

President Hill states:

When China joined the World Trade Organization, it committed that its state-owned enterprises would act on commercial terms and not discriminate against imported goods.  These conditions are a direct violation of the commitment.

IBEW and the USW urge the U.S. Trade Representative to request consultation with the Government of China and, if necessary, to invoke the WTO’s dispute resolution procedures to resolve claims.

Read the full letter to the Chief Counsel for China Trade:




Photo used under a creative commons license from Flickr user By Robert Scoble.