The Obama administration is launching a broad investigation into whether the Chinese government improperly supports its alternative energy companies, one of the sharpest challenges yet to Beijing's alleged efforts to seize world leadership in particular industries.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced on Friday he had accepted a petition from the United Steelworkers Union (USW) contending that the subsidies and other benefits China grants to its clean-energy companies violate World Trade Organization rules.
The USW contends that China has seized a large share of the global market for products such as solar panels by subsidizing the companies that make them. Other policies, such as limits on the export of rare earth elements used in many high-tech products, are seen as an effort to undermine the ability of foreign companies to compete.
Full story from the Washington Post