China’s electric tech advances ‘unfair competition’ – US Treasury

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Beijing has in turn complained about “discriminatory” subsidies approved by Washington

Chinese companies are producing too many batteries, solar panels, and electric cars, harming American workers, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has claimed. She intends to bring up the issue on her trip to Beijing next month.

Yellen spoke on Wednesday at a solar cell manufacturing facility in Georgia, which closed in 2017 due to being unable to compete with cheaper imports. Some of its production lines reopened recently due to subsidies provided by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

“In the past, in industries like steel and aluminum, Chinese government support led to substantial over-investment and excess capacity that Chinese firms looked to export abroad at depressed prices,” Yellen said. “This maintained production and employment in China but forced industry in the rest of the world to contract.”

The same thing is happening now with ‘green’ technology, Yellen argued, which “distorts global prices” and “hurts American firms and workers, as well as firms and workers around the world.”

“These are concerns that I increasingly hear from government counterparts in industrialized countries and emerging markets, as well as from the business community globally,” she added.

Yellen said she would “press my Chinese counterparts to take necessary steps to address this issue,” during her visit, planned for April.

China has become a dominant producer of lithium-ion batteries and accounted for 60% of global electric car sales last year, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

Earlier this week, Beijing filed a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint over what it called Washington’s “discriminatory” requirements for electric vehicle subsidies. Responding to the complaint, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that the subsidies were a “contribution to a clean energy future” while China “continues to use unfair, non-market policies and practices to undermine fair competition.”

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