In December it was reported that US trade officials, prompted by a petition from the United Steelworkers union, said they were concerned that Chinese manufacturers of wind turbines and related parts and components received government grants from China’s Special Fund for Wind Power Manufacturing in 2008.

They said the grants appeared to violate World Trade Organisation rules by requiring Chinese manufacturers to use only Chinese-made parts and components and filed a case against China with the WTO.

US wind turbine manufacturers such as General Electric and United Technologies are eager to compete in China’s fast-growing market.

American manufacturing must lead the way

“The United States cannot replace its dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on clean energy technology made in China,’’ said Senator Sherrod Brown. “American manufacturing must lead the way and to do this, they need a level playing field.’’

China has now agreed to eliminate ‘discriminatory local content requirements’ in wind manufacturing.

Remove barriers to our exports

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk explained:

“These subsidies effectively operate as a barrier to  exports to China.

Opening markets by removing barriers to our exports is a core element of the President’s trade strategy.”

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New end goals ?

A classic by Colin Hines, LWM’s co-founder, LOCALIZATION: A GLOBAL MANIFESTO set out steps along the route to localisation, to be introduced over a suitable transition period.

They include:

  • Reintroduction of protective safeguards for domestic economies (tariffs, quotas etc);
  • a site-here-to-sell-here policy for manufacturing and services domestically or regionally;
  • enforcing a local competition policy to eliminate monopolies from the more protected economies.

The reorientation of the end goals of aid and trade rules so that they contribute to the rebuilding of local economies and local control, particularly through the global transfer of relevant information and technology is advocated.

Hines explains:

“A Protect the Local, Globally policy is neither anti-trade nor totally self-sufficient. Its goal is maximum local trade, within diver­sified sustainable local economies and minimum long-distance trade.”