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China Defends Wind Power Subsidies

Workers prepare to lift a giant blade to be used as part of wind turbines at the Vestas Wind Technology Co. Ltd. factory in Tianjin, China, (File)

China says it is "highly concerned" about a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization charging that China is offering improper subsidies to wind power equipment makers.

In a statement posted on its web site Thursday, China's commerce ministry maintained that the subsidies comply with WTO rules. Nevertheless, the ministry said it would study the U.S. complaint and seek to resolve the dispute.

The United States announced the complaint in Washington on Wednesday. It said the subsidies, worth millions of dollars, violate WTO rules because they are offered only to companies that use exclusively Chinese-made parts.

U.S. companies such as General Electric say that makes it harder for them to sell parts to companies making wind turbines and other wind power equipment in China.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk was quoted as saying in Washington that the United States seeks to ensure "a level playing field."

The complaint is the latest in a series of trade disputes that have troubled relations between the United States and China. It was made public on the same day that the White House announced that Chinese President Hu Jintao will be in Washington for a state visit on January 19.