Published on November 3rd, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan15
China Forgets "China-Only Wind Turbines" Policy, but Why?
November 3rd, 2009 by Zachary Shahan
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about China’s new policy to focus on buying (almost entirely) “China-grown” wind turbines and wind turbine technologies with Chinese patents. That policy wasn’t a big hit internationally and China is back-tracking.
However, is it changing its stance out of international moral pressure or a major financial incentive (recent deal) in the US? And who is to benefit the most from this shift?
China’s commerce minister, Chen Deming, reportedly announced at the 20th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade talks last week that they would scratch the “buy Chinese only” policy for wind turbines. Who is this benefiting?
Policy Change Aimed at US
This benefits both European and US firms, but it is targeted more at the US. National Energy Administration director for China, Zhang Guobao, declares: “The US had hoped that there would be no local content requirement in the wind power market and we agreed with that. So US wind power technology will enter the Chinese market equally and freely.”
Gary Locke, US secretary of commerce, is happy. He says, simply, that this “will open up China’s energy market to US companies and create jobs for Americans.” But is the larger international agreement really about creating jobs for the US? There is a little more to it, it seems.
China Getting the Better Deal
Why the sudden shift in plans? Perhaps because China is expected to supply wind turbines for a huge new wind farm in Texas. This $1.5 billion project is expected to create about 300 jobs in the US and about 2,000 in China!
It is great that wind turbine trade is supposed to be more open again, but what is the reason for it and is China still intending to monopolize the wind power economy?
Perhaps it was all good-will and balanced trade negotiations. Or, perhaps China is sacrificing a pawn in order to get a more important piece (larger portion of the wind energy market).
Image Credit 1: Chiceaux via flickr under a Creative Commons license