Thursday, 18 November 2010 15:18

Move Comes in Response to Concerns Raised by Hinchey and Others

Washington, D.C. – The Obama administration this week informed Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) that it was launching an investigation into allegations that China is illegally subsidizing its solar and clean energy industries. In September, Hinchey called on President Obama to end unfair trade practices, which have put America’s growing clean energy and solar energy producers, particularly in New York’s Hudson Valley, at a competitive disadvantage. A copy of the letter from the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to Hinchey indicating the administration’s move can be found here: Letter to Hinchey.

“The president’s decision to launch a full investigation into China’s illegal subsidization of its clean energy industry is encouraging,” said Hinchey. “I raised concerns about these unfair trade practices in September when solar energy companies in the district I represent indicated that China’s subsidies are hurting domestic clean energy producers. I am hopeful that at the conclusion of this investigation the administration will move forward with efforts to enforce international trade rules and end the illegal practices, which are costing America countless jobs. Doing so would be to the benefit of our domestic efforts, particularly in New York, to establish a foothold in the development of new technologies that will help carry our nation forward in the development of a renewable energy future.”

Earlier this year, Hinchey visited Prism Solar Technologies in Highland, New York to stress the urgency of stopping China’s illegal subsidization of its clean energy exports. Those subsidies, Hinchey argued, put Hudson Valley solar manufacturers like Prism at a competitive disadvantage. To remedy the situation, Hinchey sent a letter to President Barack Obama, encouraging him to take action through the World Trade Organization, the international body charged with regulating international trade of which China and the U.S. are members.

Hinchey led the effort to establish The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC) to build partnerships between local universities and solar energy start-ups. The cooperative and coordinated approach has helped create more than 600 solar jobs, with nearly 1,000 additional jobs expected in the next two years. Last year, Hinchey announced that Prism Solar Technologies had closed a deal to establish itself in Highland using a $2 million federal investment he secured on behalf of TSEC using his position on the House Appropriations Committee. Prism designs and manufactures products that improve the efficiency of solar energy collection and is at risk of being undercut by heavily subsidized Chinese products.

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