News / Economy

    APEC Hopes to Address 'Green Energy' Trade Disputes

    Apec senior officials gather for a group photo with Lone Peak in the background on the first day of the APEC senior officials meeting  in Big Sky, Montana, May 18, 2011
    Apec senior officials gather for a group photo with Lone Peak in the background on the first day of the APEC senior officials meeting in Big Sky, Montana, May 18, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Many political leaders say manufacturing the equipment needed to tap renewable energy is a key source of good jobs. The political rush to create such jobs is sparking conflicts among major trading partners as they scramble to serve the large new market and boost jobs for their own citizens. Those tensions may be part of the discussions at trade talks by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

    It will take thousands of workers to turn out the windmills, solar panels and biomass equipment needed to drastically increase the amount of energy that economies around the world get from renewable sources.

    A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts says clean energy finance and investment hit nearly $200 billion in 2010 in the 20 largest economies, and the amount of such funding is soaring around the world, particularly in China.

    President Barack Obama is one of many leaders who think factories that turn out clean energy equipment will help their nation use less imported oil, solve environmental problems, and cut the unemployment rate.

    APEC by the Numbers

    • 21 member economies
    • 40 percent of world population
    • 55 percent of global gross domestic product
    • 43 percent of world trade


    "The clean energy jobs at this plant are the jobs of the future," said the president. "Jobs that pay well, right here in America. And in the years ahead, it’s clean energy companies like this one that will keep our economy growing, create new jobs and make sure America remains the most prosperous nation in the world."

    Obama made his remarks at a U.S. factory that turns out high-technology transmissions and other equipment for fuel-efficient vehicles.

    His administration is pushing green technology as a source of jobs and exports, as well as a way to clean the environment.

    The U.S. government, as the host this year for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, advocates cutting trade barriers for green technology. Starting Thursday, trade and business ministers from the 21 APEC nations are meeting in Big Sky, in the western U.S. state of Montana, and they are expected to take up the issue.

    Already there are problems with green technology trade. The Obama administration is taking steps through the World Trade Organization to address a complaint that Beijing discriminates against foreign companies that want to sell green energy equipment in China.

    A major U.S. labor union says jobs are at stake for its members because of what it calls China’s discriminatory rules.

    Fred Bergsten of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said China supports its own manufacturers with low interest loans, requirements for government agencies to buy domestic products and in other ways.

    "I think there is a pretty good chance that there will be some findings by what amounts to an international trade court that China is violating some of its global obligations," he said.

    U.S. trade officials say they are holding consultations with China on what Washington says may be a prohibited subsidy under the WTO agreement.

    There is a similar case brewing between two other APEC members: Japan accuses a Canadian province of treating foreign suppliers unfairly.

    The premier of the Canadian province of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, said green energy companies that want favorable treatment from the government will have to use a certain percentage of locally made products.

    "New domestic content laws will ensure that Ontario's highly skilled workers are front and center in the green economy," said McGuinty.

    An expert in international trade law, attorney Larry Herman, said that Canada will probably argue that all potential suppliers, from any nation, will have to meet the same domestic content requirements.

    He said the WTO will look at trade rules and examine practices, such as requiring domestic content, or giving local companies financial support, for evidence of illegal discrimination against foreign suppliers.

    “Does it treat foreigners worse than domestic suppliers? And secondly, are these measures, aspects of these measures illegal subsidies?” asked Herman.

    Herman said both of these cases are at an early stage in what may be a long and complex procedure. He said companies and government officials in many countries will be watching the WTO rulings closely for guidance on how far they can take their own efforts to push for more local jobs, and how much they can do to open potential markets to their products.

    But the U.S. Trade Representative’s office hopes APEC can reduce many such problems. In a statement laying out its goals as the APEC host this year, the USTR office said APEC “will accelerate efforts” to reduce barriers in environmental goods, and will encourage efforts to expand the development of clean energy programs.

    The APEC ministers responsible for trade and small and medium-sized businesses also will discuss efforts to eventually create the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. As part of that long-term goal, nine APEC nations, including the United States, Vietnam and Peru, are working on a free-trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    They hope to have the general structure of an agreement ready before the annual APEC leaders’ summit, which will be held in November in Hawaii.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8899
    JPY
    USD
    114.87
    GBP
    USD
    0.6937
    CAD
    USD
    1.3904
    INR
    USD
    68.044

    Rates may not be current.