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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9220
JPY
USD
119.88
GBP
USD
0.6757
CAD
USD
1.2640
INR
USD
62.626

Rates may not be current.