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China Probes US Renewable Energy Policy 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-for-the-goose-good-for-the-gander dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "China's Commerce Ministry on Friday announced an investigation into U.S. government policy and subsidy support for renewable energy, after a U.S. decision earlier this month to probe sales of Chinese-made solar panels in the United States. 'The Ministry of Commerce has decided to initiate a trade barrier investigation into policy support and subsidies for the U.S. renewable energy sector,' a statement on the ministry's website (www.mofcom.gov.cn) said. The announcement said Chinese companies argued that the U.S. policies 'constitute a trade barrier against the export of Chinese renewable energy products to the United States.'"
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China Probes US Renewable Energy Policy

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  • Re:Remember Solyndra (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 27, 2011 @12:16PM (#38182586)

    Harley was nearly shuttered due to bad management and an image which the mass market didn't want to be associated with. They would never be able to compete on price with Honda or Suzuki. Their saving grace was a genious marketing manager who turned the "biker gang" image into a "weekend warrior" image.

    Their financial problems started long before cheaper bikes being imported.

  • Re:Remember Solyndra (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 27, 2011 @12:25PM (#38182634)

    Harley was nearly shuttered because of their engineering and managerial incompetence. Congress's solution made the problem worse: they instituted an enormous tariff on any motorcycle with more than 700cc of engine displacement. This just meant that the Japanese manufacturers subsequently figured out how to wring absurdly large amounts of horsepower from small-displacement engines, while Harley continued to sit around with their thumbs up their asses. Today, any of the big four Japanese makes produce a bike with a 600cc engine that produces over a hundred horsepower, whereas a 1200cc Harley engine struggles to break 45hp. So the Japanese companies sell all kinds of bikes to every market all over the world while Harley sells gaudy, incompetent cruisers to an increasingly aging market of American fanboys.

  • Re:Remember Solyndra (Score:5, Informative)

    by Calos (2281322) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @12:56PM (#38182808)

    That's a drastic oversimplification of the thing, from what I've read, so much so that it's hardly a fact. The loan was neither approved nor approved of during the Bush administration.

    Yes, the loan program that Solyndra was approved under was started during the Bush administration. Yes, Solyndra was selected as a possible loanee during the Bush administration. No, the loan was not approved during the Bush administration. The loan went up for review before Obama took office and was denied. (Note that that doesn't mean the Bush administration was necessarily opposed to the loan.) During the Obama administration it was revived and revised. It was pushed forward more quickly than some were comfortable with, with groundbreaking ceremonies being planned and scheduled while review of the loan was still pending. Communications show the worry that officials had that the groundbreaking would be leaked just before the OMB might recommend against the loan.

    I'm not trying to take a side either way here, just fill in some details. Maybe it will help prevent the "partisan pissing content" and flamewars you seem to want to provoke.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 27, 2011 @01:06PM (#38182880)

    You seem to forget the likes of BMW, Ducati and Triumph.

    It is funny that here in the UK, a UK made bike (Triumph) range is generally cheaper than the Japanese Competition.
    If you take a trip around their factory, you will soon see why. All the best CAR production methods in use on a Motorcycle production line.

    IMHO, Harleys are very much the reserve of people who have more money than sense or like to get where they are going rather slowly. Following one along a twisty road is real entertainment. It is a miracle they can get round the bends in one piece.

    Disclaimer, I've been riding Triumph's for 2 months short of 40 years. I currenty ride a 2011 Tiger 1050. My first Triumph, a 1969 TR6 is still running with 310K miles on the clock.

  • by drnb (2434720) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @01:12PM (#38182912)

    Fun Fact: The Solyndra loans were approved of during the Bush administration. Have fun with your partisan pissing contest.

    I'm sorry, you seem a bit short on facts. Here are some facts from the left leaning New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

    Preliminary approval under Bush, final approval under Obama. Then financial analysis was skipped under Obama and warnings were ignored. Plus Solyndra's owner was a top Obama campaign contributor. Plus the Obama administration structured the deal so that investors would get paid before taxpayers if the company failed.

    "George B. Kaiser, a billionaire from Tulsa, Okla., was a fund-raiser for Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign and the backer of a foundation that is Solyndra’s leading investor ... during the period when Solyndra’s loan guarantee was under review and management by the Energy Department, the company spent nearly $1.8 million on Washington lobbyists, employing six firms with ties to members of Congress and officials of the Obama White House. None of the other three solar panel manufacturers that eventually got federal loan guarantees spent a dime on lobbyists."

    ""“It was alarming,” said Frank Rusco, a program director at the Government Accountability Office, which found that Energy Department preliminary loan approvals — including the one for Solyndra — were granted at times before officials had completed mandatory evaluations of the financial and engineering viability of the projects. “They can’t really evaluate the risks without following the rules.” The Energy Department’s senior staff has acknowledged in interviews the intense pressure from top Obama administration officials to rush stimulus spending out the door. “We had to knock down some barriers standing in the way to get these projects funded,” Matthew C. Rogers, the Energy Department official overseeing the loan guarantee program, said in March 2009, just days before Solyndra got its provisional loan commitment. Mr. Rogers said Energy Secretary Steven Chu had been personally reviewing loan applications and urging faster action on them.""
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/us/politics/in-rush-to-assist-solyndra-united-states-missed-warning-signs.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

    "At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn't rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn't need the help. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also at the meeting, had a different view. Under pressure from Congress to speed up the loans, he wanted less scrutiny from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB."
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/26/nation/la-na-energy-loans-20110927 [latimes.com]

    "Energy Department officials were warned that their plan to help a failing solar company by restructuring its $535 million federal loan could violate the law and should be cleared with the Justice Department, according to newly obtained e-mails from within the Obama administration. The e-mails show that Energy Department officials moved ahead anyway with a new deal that would repay company investors before taxpayers if the company defaulted."
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/solyndra-obama-and-rahm-emanuel-pushed-to-spotlight-energy-company/2011/10/07/gIQACDqSTL_story.html [washingtonpost.com]

  • by roguegramma (982660) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @01:51PM (#38183152) Journal

    Ah yes, China has "borrowed" USD.

    And I thought they borrowed USD to the US government, and not a small amount either:
    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/moneymatters/ss/How-Much-US-Debt-Does-China-Own.htm [about.com]

    It is correct that China keeps the Yuan Renminbi low, in order to do so, it has to sell Yuan Renminbi and buy USD from people willing to sell USD. It also will invest these USD somewhere, or buy US debt. This works due to the USA and other states importing tons of goods from China and increasing US living standards with them. It is ironic that "communist" China is better at "free trade" than the USA, with the assistance of the US industry, which finds it more profitable to do so.

    Your country would be broke without China, and it is quite disconcerting to have such a cause of conflict between two large nations.

    And yes, you are right with one of your arguments, but this is because your arguments contradict each other: You blame China both for withdrawing USD and not withdrawing them.

  • Re:Currency Value (Score:5, Informative)

    by hackingbear (988354) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @01:56PM (#38183172)

    and lots of inflation

    That/s pretty much true and in fact on-going in China. But it raises the question whether it is effective at all to manipulate one's currencies. Today, the Japanese Yen, Taiwanese Dollar, Korean Won, etc all have a lower exchange rates than that of Yuan. Yen is like 80:1 against USD, while Yuan is 6:1. But we don't seem to complain too much about Japanese manipulation of Yen. Why? Because the wage inflation in Japanese has pushed up the final cost. Today, inflation is running high in China; market force would have restored the true market costs which are not that high given there are something like 1 billion laborers. The cost advantage in China is mainly due to its massive supply of labor -- simple supply and demand.

    Another interesting thing in China is the black market which is prevalent there. Like the Intel processors in most PCs are smuggled into China. Same for Yuan. Back in the early 1990's, the official rate was 3:1 [wikipedia.org], but nobody exchanged at that rate. The black market rate at that time was 8:1, 2.5 times lower than official rate. Eventually, the Chinese government gave up and reset the rate to 8:1. Today, there is still the black market for currecies, but the rate is pretty much close to the official rate. (There are limited "white" markets [wikipedia.org] for Yuan in Hongkong now, trading in amount of the billions of Yuan, at a slighly lower rate for Yuan.) Would that signal the official rate is in fact not too much different than what a free market would support?

    The invisible hand exists even if the official market is not really free. And why didn't our politicians make such complain back in the 1990's but do now? It feels like the accusation are at least partially an excuse made up by our politicians to hide their own ineffectiveness.

  • Re:Not True! (Score:5, Informative)

    by kqs (1038910) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:08PM (#38183620)

    So in the list of people involved with the loans:
          * homeowner
          * mortgage company employee
          * loan approval officer
          * mortgage security trader
          * investor
          * ratings company employee
    you want to blame, for the collapse of our economy, the one person who has no financial training nor any responsibility beyond their one tiny loan? That's taking "blame the victim" to new levels.

    There are lots of books which try to explain all the problems leading up to the recession; I recommend "All the Devils Are Here". Please read one or more before you try to blame the crisis on any one group or on any simple cause. It took lots of effort by many many people who knew better to cause it.

  • by Kalriath (849904) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:31PM (#38183770)

    Actually, your free trade agreements are usually weapons written by the RIAA, MPAA, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma to neuter foreign countries with policies they don't like, often including collateral damage to the United States itself. Cases in point the free trade agreement with Australia that allowed British American Tobacco to sue the Australian government for billions in damages because the Australian government passed a law requiring all cigarette packets to be blank (BAT argued that this devalued their trademarks), or the TPPA which will allow Big Pharma to sue the New Zealand government or Medicaid/Medicare for "failing to reflect the value of (the) pharmaceutical patents" during supply negotiations.

    So yes, please do stop writing Free Trade Agreements.

  • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @05:36PM (#38184630)

    Income disparity is a symptom. The real problem is that when you concentrate the wealth in a small percentage of the population with more than enough wealth than they could ever spend.. that money just sits there, rather than flowing through the economy. As the money is stockpiled, spending slows, and thus we see a recession.

    Put the money in the hands of people that need it, and they will spend it.. on food, clothing, things they need to survive, and maybe a few luxuries.

    An economy cannot survive if money does not flow.

    What's stupid about this is that the wealthy should understand this. They should understand that their money gains value when the economy is strong. They should understand that stockpiling their money makes it worth LESS.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @06:20PM (#38184918) Journal

    The point is valid, but you'll need to leave WTO first.

    Oh, and there's no need to ban anything as such. Just place tariffs on it so that the difference accounts precisely for the extra cost of manufacturing in U.S. due to labor and environmental regulations.

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