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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7975
JPY
USD
118.23
GBP
USD
0.6371
CAD
USD
1.1324
INR
USD
61.929

Rates may not be current.