"Energy Could Be a Key Area of Cooperation for the U.S. and China" -- Professor Wilson Featured in Time
But while American and Chinese scientists can freely cooperate on energy research, clean tech hasn't been excluded from the economic competition that has complicated other parts of the Beijing-Washington relationship. Last year the United Steelworkers called on the Obama Administration to launch a formal investigation into whether China is violating international free-trade agreements by providing unfair assistance to its clean-tech sector. That help includes offering government export subsidies, low-interest loans and access to cheap land for factories. (The steelworkers have pushed the issue because of union fears that Chinese dominance in clean tech could mean more manufacturing jobs outsourced abroad.) While it's not clear where the complaint will go -- last month the U.S. requested consultations with Beijing, which could be a prelude to taking up the matter with the World Trade Organization -- the dispute could undermine broader cooperation on energy and climate, especially with Congress growing increasingly suspicious of China. "I worry that short-term political opportunism could derail long-term needs for both countries," says Elizabeth Wilson, an associate professor of environmental policy and law at the University of Minnesota.
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