What renewable-energy issues are at stake in the increasingly tense relations between the United States and China?
The Commerce Department is scheduled to announce on Wednesday its verdict in a case charging Chinese solar-panel makers with illegal trade practices. Experts say the administration is likely to slap major tariffs on Chinese solar products. This is just the latest development in a long and sometimes ugly clean-energy race between major economies, particularly China and the United States. The Commerce Department is also considering taking similar action against wind-tower imports from China. What’s more, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office has filed two complaints with the World Trade Organization against China, alleging the country is limiting exports of rare-earth minerals, which are key in renewable-energy technologies.
All of these developments have made their way to the presidential campaign trail, where both President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney are criticizing China on some of these issues and others.
What can the administration, Congress, and the private sector do to ensure the success of America’s renewable-energy industry while also maintaining relations with China? What are the implications from the solar tariff case and other related cases for the broader renewable-energy industry? What do all of these actions say about how the U.S. is faring in the global clean-energy race?