NFU News Clips November 29, 2011
PLEASE NOTE - Contents in the NFU News Clips are presented from their original sources. National Farmers Union does not have editorial control over the content. NFU does not endorse the views and issues contained in these articles and they do not necessarily represent NFU's official policy and positions. The News Clips are intended to provide news stories as they are presented by the media.
Click on the title of the story to read the full story
In this edition:
November 29, 2011
One of the great battles of the 2012 Farm Bill might concern...(drumroll)....crop insurance! Don't roll your eyes: At $8 billion, it's the largest part of the current farm bill budget that actually has to do with farms (as opposed to what it literally the largest part, which deals with food stamps). According to a leaked document containing a set of recommendations by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to the now-defunct supercommittee, the Ag committee's key priority this time around was to increase federally subsidized crop insurance, even if it meant cutting the direct payments that were so entrenched in earlier bills. Read more…
November 28, 2011
U.S. corn and soybean growers will pay lower rates from crop insurance in 2012 -- down by an average 7 percent for corn and 9 percent for soybeans, the federal overseer said on Monday. The U.S. Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency said the lower premium rates were a result of updated methodology for setting rates. Administrator Bill Murphy said premium rates will more accurately reflect risks under the revisions. The USDA pays 60 cents of each $1 in crop insurance premiums. Crop insurance subsidies were forecast for $7 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30. Read more…
November 28, 2011
What if it were possible to almost entirely do away with E. coli in ground beef and it would cost only about a penny a burger? Food-safety experts say it's entirely feasible with new technologies that have become available. One is a vaccine, the other a feed additive, which, given early enough, could bring down potential E. coli contamination to negligible levels. The problem, experts in beef safety say, is that the economics are backward. The new interventions have to be administered long before the cattle are slaughtered, when the calves are young or in feed lots where they're growing. It's hard to figure out who should pay for steps that would take place months and possibly years before the grill starts sizzling. Read more…
November 28, 2011
Des Moines Register
The ethanol industry’s main subsidy is set to end soon, but that hasn’t stopped European competitors from trying to get a tax slapped on the American-made biofuel, claiming that federal and state incentives make the imported product unfairly cheap. The European Commission has launched an anti-dumping investigation of U.S. ethanol that could result in duties being imposed on the product. At the same time, the American industry has started to saturate its domestic market and is looking increasingly to exports. The largest subsidy for U.S. ethanol is a 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit that expires Dec. 31. Read more…
November 29, 2011
The Washington Post
Leaders of China’s solar power industry rejected a U.S. trade complaint that they receive unfair government support and said Tuesday possible sanctions would hurt American consumers and development of clean energy. Solar and other renewable energy technology has emerged as an irritant in U.S.-Chinese trade. The two governments have pledged to cooperate in development but accuse each other of violating free-trade pledges by subsidizing their own manufacturers. The chairmen of four of China’s biggest solar companies, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., said at a news conference that their success comes from more advanced technology and skillful management. Read more…
1. Crop Insurance: This year’s Farm Bill frontier
November 29, 2011
One of the great battles of the 2012 Farm Bill might concern...(drumroll)....crop insurance! Don't roll your eyes: At $8 billion, it's the largest part of the current farm bill budget that actually has to do with farms (as opposed to what it literally the largest part, which deals with food stamps). According to a leaked document containing a set of recommendations by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to the now-defunct supercommittee, the Ag committee's key priority this time around was to increase federally subsidized crop insurance, even if it meant cutting the direct payments that were so entrenched in earlier bills.
Direct payments are admittedly a lot harder to defend than they were even four years ago. Introduced back when commodity crop prices were rock-bottom enough to crash the economies of several non-subsidized agricultural markets, these payments continued at the same rate, even as grain prices climbed to a record high, cotton became more expensive than it has been since any time since the Civil War, and farmers began actually buying back land that they'd sold to real estate developers.
Just how crop insurance will expand is a critical question. Here's how federally-subsidized crop insurance works now: The feds contract out to a small group of corporations (the same corporations that insure crops across the world), the feds also help farmers pay some or most of the insurance premiums, and they pay out reimbursements when things go south. Meanwhile, the insurance corporation gets money for administering the program, as well as commissions for the policies it sells, and reimbursements for losses.
Federal crop insurance has been around since the 1930's, but it's grown dramatically in recent years. In fact, participation actually tripled in the last two decades. 2011 was a record year for the industry; $12 billion were paid out in premiums, with the feds subsidizing about 50 percent of the cost of those payments. "We never dreamed in the 1980s of having a program of this size," Tom Zacharias, president of the trade association National Crop Insurance Services, told the Ag Journal.
As it turned out, 2011 was also a record year for liability, with drought in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, and Hurricane Irene taking out crops along the Eastern seaboard. The record profits made by some farmers were due to others' record losses. And so the saga known to all who have ever bought insurance kicked into gear -- the cost of insurance went up. So did the feds' contribution.
The insurance industry doesn't have a great reputation, as a whole, but it does have a record of changing human behavior though financial incentives. In the early days of fire insurance, for instance, insurers refused to cover communities until they built a fire department. In 2006, Lloyds of London wrote a memorable report that strongly advised its members to begin factoring global warming into its calculations [PDF], a move that came off like a warning shot across the bow of a business community that until then had seen environmentalism as a moral rather than a financial issue. "Failure to take climate change into account will put companies at risk from future legal actions from their own shareholders, their investors and clients," the report read, and went on from there.
Last year's crop losses weren't entirely due to climate change -- disasters and farming go way back -- but they are occurring at a frequency and scale that implies that American farmers now have to work with a new type of weather. According to a report produced by the Congressional Research Service in December of last year, government outlays for crop insurance rose from 2.1 billion in 2000 to 3.6 billion in 2006 to 7.3 billion in 2009 -- and, over the next 10 years, federal spending on crop insurance is projected to outpace spending on traditional commodity programs by about one-third.
The Farm Bill shapes American agriculture, so it seems irrational to protect farmers trying to maintain their profits on farmland no longer suited for the crops they're growing. The policy can work to make sure that insurance helps diminish the risks inherent in growing food and trying to sell it to people -- but most advocates believe this should happen in a way that applies to everyone, not just a few individual farmers.
When it looked like the Farm Bill might still be passed by the supercommittee, farmers who grow commodities like corn, soy, and cotton were, "going for the maximum of what they could possibly dream of," says Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Farm lobbies raised the amounts they would get for each crop lost "to unimagined levels."
Now that the bill will be considered by the entirety of Congress, Hoefner adds, crop insurance will "most likely get seriously revisited."
"We're entering unknown territory," says Julia Olmstead, who helped write a report on global warming and the Farm Bill for the International Association for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). "Now we're going to enter into a traditional year and multi-year process of meetings and more meetings."
Olmstead's report advised an insurance policy that encourages farmers to plant multiple crops; a farm that grows a diversity of crops is less vulnerable to disasters (two programs in the farm bill, AGR and AGR-lite, already encourage these practices, and they could be expanded). The report also advises extending better insurance rates to farmers who raise livestock onsite (meaning that farmers will have an incentive not to truck in fertilizer, thus leading to even more carbon in the atmosphere) and expansion of programs like the Conservation Stewards Program (CSP), which incentivizes farmers to protect the water, soil, and air. (It's been so popular that only 57 percent of eligible farmers have been funded. With the proposed cuts in the supercommittee report, that percentage would go down to 46percent.)
In other words: Expect a lot of wrassling over the issue of insurance over the next few months. As the cash cow in the Farm Bill, it will also be the star to which hopes and dreams are pinned.
"We never get what we want," says Olmstead, who envisions a Farm Bill that would give more support to sustainable farming and less to agriculture that requires heavy inputs of fuel, fertilizer, and cash. "If 2008 was about new programs, this one is about holding on to what we can. And I think we've made a lot of progress."
To view this story at its original source, follow this link: http://www.grist.org/farm-bill/2011-11-29-crop-insurance-this-years-farm-bill-frontier
2. US corn, soy crop insurance rates to drop in 2012-USDA
November 28, 2011
U.S. corn and soybean growers will pay lower rates from crop insurance in 2012 -- down by an average 7 percent for corn and 9 percent for soybeans, the federal overseer said on Monday. The U.S. Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency said the lower premium rates were a result of updated methodology for setting rates. Administrator Bill Murphy said premium rates will more accurately reflect risks under the revisions. The USDA pays 60 cents of each $1 in crop insurance premiums. Crop insurance subsidies were forecast for $7 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.
Some 256 million acres (104 million hectares) of U.S. cropland are covered by policies, most of them "revenue" insurance that shield producers from low prices and poor yields. Growers planted 167 million acres of corn and soybeans this year. "Our farmers have historically paid more than their fair share of crop insurance premiums and we are pleased to see this is finally coming to an end," said Gary Niemeyer, president of the National Corn Growers Association.
But the Illinois Corn Growers Association said corn rates were still too high, compared with losses. It said "over-payments have accrued to crop insurance companies as profit." RMA adjusted rates as a result of a study that it commissioned from Sumaria Systems Inc and opened up to peer review. The agency said it will review further Sumaria's report and make additional adjustments as warranted.
An industry trade group, National Crop Insurance Services, said growers "should pay fair premium rates, based on sound actuarial methods and principles" but it had questions about the new procedures. Fifteen insurance companies are approved by RMA to provide coverage on 2012 crops. They include John Deere Insurance Co and Agrinational Insurance Co Inc, a branch of Archer-Daniels-Midland Co .
To view this story at its original source, follow this link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/28/usa-agriculture-insurance-idUSN1E7AR1UJ20111128
3. Who should pay to make ground beef safe from E. coli?
November 28, 2011
What if it were possible to almost entirely do away with E. coli in ground beef and it would cost only about a penny a burger? Food-safety experts say it's entirely feasible with new technologies that have become available. One is a vaccine, the other a feed additive, which, given early enough, could bring down potential E. coli contamination to negligible levels.
The problem, experts in beef safety say, is that the economics are backward. The new interventions have to be administered long before the cattle are slaughtered, when the calves are young or in feed lots where they're growing. It's hard to figure out who should pay for steps that would take place months and possibly years before the grill starts sizzling. The people who'd have to pay for them aren't the ones who would reap the direct benefits.
Researchers at Harvard University estimate that American beef consumers are willing to pay 1 cent to 2 cents a pound to reduce the risk of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. "Common sense plus our paper and many others suggest consumers will pay more for safer food," says James Hammitt, who co-wrote a paper on consumer willingness to pay for food safety in the September edition of the journal Risk Analysis.
These interventions aren't perfect, but they're very good, says Guy Loneragan, a professor of food safety at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. "The question is no longer, 'Can we get the technologies?' We've got them, or they're soon to arrive. The question is 'How do we implement?' "
"This is really good news," says Caroline Smith DeWaal, food-safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "This is a huge advance in the war against these pathogenic strains of E. coli."
So far only two small companies appear to be embracing them. One is a tiny feed lot cooperative in Kansas that's looking to vaccinate all its cattle "soon." The other is a Meade, Kan., cooperative that's staking its economic life on calling for retailers nationally to demand these interventions from the packers that supply their meat. The game may be changing, however. At a meeting earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started a discussion that might move things along.
The regulatory landscape "is confusing," says Elisabeth Hagen, USDA's undersecretary for food safety. "But we're realizing that there's an issue here and somehow we have to bring everybody together and focus on the end product, the result of which is the safety of the food that goes to the American consumer." Nancy Donley, whose son died from E. coli O157:H7 in a hamburger, went on to found the non-profit STOP Foodborne Illness.
Consumers are happy to pay for additional safety, Donley says. "We need to do something at the source" before cattle go to slaughter, she says. "This is something we've been crying for ages."
Taming the E. coli threat
E. coli bacteria live in the guts of most mammals. There are many types of E. coli and almost all are harmless to the animals. Many are beneficial. But a few, including O157:H7, secrete a toxin that doesn't hurt cattle but does hurt and can kill humans if they eat meat contaminated with it.
E. coli doesn't live inside the muscle, so steaks and roasts aren't likely routes of contamination — because if there's E. coli on the outside, it's killed when they're cooked.
Hamburger is a different story, because the meat is ground up, mixing any potential E. coli on the outside deep into the ground beef. If you don't cook it to 160 degrees, all the way through, E. coli O157:H7 can still be alive inside the burger.
The CDC estimates that each year about 2,138 people are hospitalized from O157:H7 and 20 die.
To date, most efforts to control E. coli O157:H7 have focused on the slaughter process. There are washes done before the hide is removed, washes after it's been taken off, steam-cleaning of carcasses and thermal pasteurization. There's even a blue light that makes chlorophyll, found in pasture grass in manure, easier to see. Where there's manure, there could be E. coli O157:H7. "The beef industry has been very proactive about adopting these technologies," says Smith DeWaal, adding that they've gone a long way toward reducing E. coli levels in ground meat.
Loneragan says they've gone as far as they can after the animal is slaughtered. Now the focus needs to be on ridding the animals of E. coli O157:H7 before they get to the slaughterhouse. The new methods to do that involve:
•A vaccine. The biggest and potentially most game-changing treatment is a vaccine introduced by Pfizer Animal Health in 2010 and given in a three-shot series starting when the calf is just 6 months old. This gets rid of the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in 85% of the cattle, says Brad Morgan, a senior food-safety specialist at Pfizer Animal Health in Stillwater, Okla. Not only that, but even among the ones that still have the bacteria in the gut, the injections reduce the amount the animals shed in their manure by 98%, he says.
It's not all or nothing. Pfizer has done studies showing that if only 50% or even 25% of cattle are vaccinated, rates of E. coli are strongly reduced in the feed yard, and therefore in the packing plant. And Harvard's Hammitt says his research shows that Americans understand that food can't be "perfectly safe," but they want safer.
The vaccine costs $4 to $6 per animal for the full series, says Loneragan. There are several other vaccines in the regulatory pipeline here and overseas.
•The probiotic. The other intervention is a probiotic added to feed. These are beneficial bacteria cultures that out-compete the more dangerous forms of E. coli in the cattles' guts, much as yogurt is said to seed the gut with good bacteria to keep out the bad. Many studies have found that using "the right strain at the right dose you can get a fairly predictable 40% to 50% reduction in E. coli O157:H7," says Loneragan.
The probiotics are commonly used in feed lots, though not always at the higher dosages that are really helpful. The higher dose costs $2 to $4 per animal, says Loneragan.
So why don't all beef processors take these steps?
The American Meat Institute Foundation, the research arm of the meat industry trade group, says there just isn't enough data yet to know if these treatments work. While there's been a tremendous amount of research and it looks promising, "We're right at the cusp of understanding the technology," says Betsy Booren, the institute's director of scientific affairs.
Last year Cargill, one of the nation's largest beef producers, conducted a trial of the E. coli vaccine on 85,000 head of cattle at its Fort Morgan, Colo., beef-processing facility, says spokesman Mike Martin at Cargill's Wichita headquarters. The trial's results were "inconclusive," Martin says, in part because the levels of O157:H7 they found on the cattle in general "were the lowest in years . …" There was "very little difference" in rates between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated cattle, he says. Loneragan says in the studies he's done, E. coli O157:H7 levels were indeed low but dropped lower in meat from vaccinated cattle.
What about the economics?
Which brings up the question of what makes economic sense. Six dollars per head of cattle for a vaccine may not seem like a lot, but cattle go through multiple hands and everyone's got to get paid: the cow-calf operation where they're born and spend their first months of life, the feed lots where they gain their adult weight, the slaughterhouse/packer and the retail store that sells the meat.
The Pfizer vaccine is conditionally approved, meaning companies must still do follow-up and data collection when they use it. That requirement is one of the reasons it's not yet widely used, says Richard Raymond, former USDA undersecretary for food safety. It makes the "vaccine terribly expensive. Government bureaucracy at its worst." Cargill's Martin says the issue begs the question: "Who's going to bear the cost? Is it going to flow through all the way to the retail consumer level or is it a cost of doing business — and if so … whose margins and profitability does that impact? Anybody who does it and has a higher-cost product is at a competitive disadvantage to anyone who doesn't."
While the idea is good, it just doesn't make economic sense for producers to spend the money, says Bill Marler, the Seattle lawyer who's made a career of prosecuting food-safety cases. Each year in the United States an estimated 63,000 people get sick from E. coli O157:H7 in food, the CDC says. While not all of those are directly from eating ground beef, contact with cattle manure is also how many fruit and vegetables become contaminated as well. "There's almost always a cow at the end," says Cindy Roberts, a food-safety researcher at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. But overall outbreaks linked to O157:H7 are dropping, and most are never tracked back to the food that caused them. "The chance of getting caught for poisoning people from E. coli is really small, so there's really no incentive" to invest in these preventive steps, says Marler.
How could it be done?
USDA, which is in charge of meat safety, doesn't plan on regulating what ranchers do on the farm. "We really want to make clear that that's not what we're talking about," says Hagen.
So how to make it happen?
On a small scale, the Beef Marketing Group, a cooperative of 14 feed lots in Kansas and Nebraska, has launched a vaccination program in one of its yards and is hoping to expand into others soon, says CEO John Butler. But for now it's "pure cost" for him. "I get no benefit," Butler says. To really work it's got to happen as an industry, Butler says. "We've really got to throw down the gauntlet and say, 'Who's going to do this first?' "Out in Meade, Kan., a beef food-safety cooperative named VeriPrime aims to do just that. Its audacious plan, in the works since 2002, is to get the companies that buy meat to sell to Americans to demand these E. coli prevention steps from ranchers and feed lots.
Starting Thursday, VeriPrime is launching a 45-day countdown to get the nation's grocers and restaurants to sign on to its program."As cattlemen, we want to implement E. coli prevention," says CEO Scott Crain. "We want to let consumers know it's going to cost a penny a serving and see if that's OK with them. And we're asking the packers, grocery stores and restaurants to collect that penny to reimburse the cattlemen for what it costs." The cattlemen's cooperative is asking retailers to add a clause to their contracts saying they won't buy beef that hasn't undergone these treatments. And it plans to tell consumers who has signed on.
In the end, it's going to take movement by the biggest companies to move the industry. There are two that could make this happen in a second, McDonald's and Wal-Mart, says Chuck Jolley, a meat industry marketing company executive."If either decides to require it, the industry will turn around on a dime," he says.
To view this story at its original source, follow this link: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2011-12-01/safe-meat/51447546/1
4. U.S. ethanol under fire in Europe
November 28, 2011
Des Moines Register
The ethanol industry’s main subsidy is set to end soon, but that hasn’t stopped European competitors from trying to get a tax slapped on the American-made biofuel, claiming that federal and state incentives make the imported product unfairly cheap.
The European Commission has launched an anti-dumping investigation of U.S. ethanol that could result in duties being imposed on the product. At the same time, the American industry has started to saturate its domestic market and is looking increasingly to exports.
The largest subsidy for U.S. ethanol is a 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit that expires Dec. 31. However, the European Commission also is including in its investigation a series of state-level incentives, including biofuels infrastructure grants and a revolving loan program in Iowa, grants for ethanol processing plants in Illinois, and ethanol production incentives in Nebraska and South Dakota.
U.S. ethanol exports to Europe increased by 500 percent from 2008 to 2010 and are expected to double this year from 2010, according to ePURE, a European industry trade group that pressed the European Commission to pursue the anti-dumping case. The group said in a recent press release that the increase in imports of American ethanol “is the direct result” of federal and state subsidies that let the U.S. industry “adopt aggressive pricing practices on the European market.”
The European Commission previously imposed a tariff on U.S. biodiesel to offset the $1-a-gallon tax credit that subsidizes that product.
The U.S. industry has given up hope of getting Congress to renew its federal subsidy. The industry offered this summer to end the subsidy early so the savings could be used to subsidize the installation of gas station pumps that can dispense higher levels of the biofuels, but that proposal died in Congress.
“I don’t see how the EU case holds very much validity after that 45-cent tax credit goes away,” said Bruce Babcock, an Iowa State University economist who studies agricultural and energy markets. The state-level incentives on their own “amount to nothing” when it comes to driving the price of ethanol, he said. The bigger drivers of ethanol pricing would be gasoline prices and government usage mandates.
The state-level incentives cited in the EU case include grants that Iowa offers to service stations to get them to install pumps that will dispense ethanol in blends of as much as 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The grants will cover 70 percent of a project’s cost or as much as $50,000. The goal of the grants is to increase ethanol usage in Iowa, so it would discourage exporting the biofuel, not encourage it, said Harold Hommes, who oversees the E85 infrastructure program at the state Department of Agriculture.
“The goal in short is to increase domestic demand, consumer-driven demand. We don’t see any way that this one can be challenged,” Hommes said.
The Renewable Fuels Association, a Washington-based trade group, said that the expiration of the federal subsidy should make that part of the European case irrelevant. The group said it would “continuously monitor the status of these investigations and will take any necessary steps to ensure the U.S. ethanol industry is not unjustly penalized.”
Ethanol exported to Europe would only benefit from the 45-cent subsidy if it is first mixed with some gasoline, and then the subsidy would go to the company that did the blending, said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the U.S. trade group.
European ethanol producers fill about 85 percent of the continent’s demand for the biofuel, said Barry Magee, a spokesman for ePURE. The rest is from Brazil or the United States, he said.
To view this story at its original source, follow this link: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20111129/BUSINESS01/311290062/-1/ENT05/U-S-ethanol-under-fire-Europe
5. Chinese solar power companies say US trade complaint will hurt American jobs, consumers
November 29, 2011
The Associated Press
Leaders of China’s solar power industry rejected a U.S. trade complaint that they receive unfair government support and said Tuesday possible sanctions would hurt American consumers and development of clean energy.
Solar and other renewable energy technology has emerged as an irritant in U.S.-Chinese trade. The two governments have pledged to cooperate in development but accuse each other of violating free-trade pledges by subsidizing their own manufacturers. The chairmen of four of China’s biggest solar companies, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., said at a news conference that their success comes from more advanced technology and skillful management.
“If you ask whether the solar industry in China has received special treatment or special support, the answer is no,” said Suntech’s Shi Zhengrong, one of the solar power industry’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Beijing is promoting renewable energy both to curb rising demand for imported oil in the world’s second-largest economy and in hopes of creating a profitable technology export industry. It gives research grants and tax breaks to developers but says they are in line with those given by other governments and comply with free-trade rules.
China’s producers of solar panels and equipment grew rapidly over the past decade as they supplied demand from Germany, Spain and other markets where power companies were required to meet renewable power production quotas.
The U.S. Commerce Department launched an investigation this month into complaints that Chinese companies were exporting solar panels and equipment to the United States at less than fair value. A final ruling is due in July. If the complaint is upheld, the U.S. government could impose punitive tariffs.
The case has attracted unusual attention for a trade complaint following the bankruptcy of solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, after the California-based company received a $528 million U.S. government loan.
Last week, China’s Commerce Ministry announced its own trade probe into whether U.S. government support for producers of wind, solar and other renewable energy technology is an improper trade barrier.
Also at Tuesday’s news conference were Yingli chairman and CEO Miao Liansheng; Gao Jifan, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar Ltd.; and Qu Xiaohua, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar Ltd., headquartered in Ontario with factories in China.
If Washington imposes sanctions, one result will be a loss of American jobs because U.S. companies are both buyers of Chinese products and suppliers of materials, the companies said in a statement. They said Chinese manufacturers spend some $2 billion a year to buy materials such as polysilicon from U.S. suppliers.
“Any trade restrictive measures that may be imposed will unavoidably cause serious impairment to the sustainable development of the green energy industries as well as consumers’ interests both in China and the United States,” said the statement.
The executives sharply criticized the lead company in the Commerce Department complaint, SolarWorld Industries America Inc., a unit of Germany’s SolarWorld AG. They said it receives U.S. and European subsidies while complaining about Chinese support.
“We applaud the support of the European Union and the U.S. government toward renewable energy. But we are very sorry that SolarWorld has applied such a double standard when they talk about subsidies,” said Canadian Solar’s Qu.
Tensions over access to renewable energy markets are especially sensitive at a time when the United States and other Western governments want to boost technology exports to revive economic growth and cut high unemployment.
The United States and China, the two biggest emitters of climate-changing industrial gases, agreed in 2009 to create a joint center to research cleaner coal, building efficiency and clean vehicles.
Chinese authorities have tried to mollify foreign companies that complain Beijing might be trying to squeeze them out of renewable energy and other emerging industries.
The U.S. commerce secretary, John Bryson, said Chinese officials at trade talks this month pledged equal treatment for foreign companies in electric vehicles and other emerging industries. According to Bryson, the officials said foreign producers would be eligible to apply for government subsidies.
To view this story at its original source, follow this link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/chinese-solar-power-companies-say-us-trade-complaint-will-hurt-american-jobs-consumers/2011/11/29/gIQA5ZcZ7N_story.html