SHANGHAI — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday China should allow foreign companies to qualify for its subsidies aimed at encouraging renewable energy projects. Chu said foreign firms, including Chinese companies, qualify for U.S. clean energy subsidies but barriers, such as Beijing’s local content requirements, exclude U.S. companies from receiving government help in China. “The United State recognizes the right of China to give subsidies just as we use subsidies … but in the United States, we make a point of including all industries,” Chu told reporters on a visit to Shanghai.
“We would ask China to consider the same reciprocity, namely if a foreign company wants to come to China to set up manufacturing and production that it would be open to the same kind of help,” he said. Chu’s comments at a media briefing follow disagreements between Washington and Beijing over the impact of subsidies on the renewable energy sector. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced in September it was investigating whether China’s support for its domestic renewable energy companies broke international trade rules. China’s Ministry of Commerce has dismissed claims it was unfairly supporting its green-technology industry. Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, was cautious about whether a United Nations climate change summit later this month in Cancun, Mexico, would lead to any significant steps forward in the fight against global warming. “In terms of what people are going to be expecting from Cancun, I think it’s most important to look at China and the U.S., the two greatest users of energy,” he said. He stressed both countries were taking steps to reduce emissions. “Do I think in Cancun a binding, legal agreement will be signed? Maybe not, but it’s important that both countries are moving aggressively in the right direction.”