Wind-Tower Complaint Against China Echoes From Chinese Complaint Against Europe

Wind Tower manufacturers accused China and Vietnam of flooding the U.S. market with cheap towers, in a complaint filed today by the Wind Tower Trade Coalition. But the dispute is only the latest twist in an international wrestling match over the wind tower trade that derives from Europe's early dominance of the industry.
China has a surplus of wind-tower components and manufacturers, including more than 100 producers of towers, the official state news agency, Xinhua, reported last month. The surplus follows a 2007 law that requires the country's booming wind power industry to derive 70 percent of components from Chinese enterprises.
The law succeeded—Chinese wind-power capacity boomed from 764,000 kilowatts in 2004 to 15.85 million kilowatts by September 2009—while Chinese ownership of its domestic wind-power production increased from 18 percent to 62 percent.
Chinese wind power equipment had previously been owned largely by European wind giants including Vestas and Gamesa.
But the law may have proved too effective, and Chinese production has outstripped demand. China has produced more towers and turbines than the country is prepared to install—in part because of a bottleneck in gearbox production. As a result, China is considering revoking the 2007 law and opening its domestic market to "free trade."
Not so fast.
Today U.S. manufacturers filed a complaint with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission accusing China and Vietnam of selling wind towers so cheaply here they are hampering domestic industry.
As a result of dumping and improper subsidies, the U.S. industry is suffering severe harm as seen in employment levels, pricing, production, and profits. Chinese and Vietnamese imports of wind towers have escalated significantly, costing U.S. manufacturers sales and injuring American workers.
via Wiley & Rein, attorneys representing the Wind Tower Trade Coalition.
"The Chinese and Vietnamese industries are using unfair pricing practices to capture critical sales from the U.S. industry. As a result, the industry and its workers have been injured by these imports of unfairly-priced imports," said Alan H. Price, counsel for the WTTC. "Additionally, the Chinese government has used, and continues to use, unprecedented levels of subsidization to push wind towers into the U.S. market."

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