China's wind energy turbine makers have said scrapping subsidies for the domestic sector will have little impact, even as US manufacturers hailed the move as a victory, state media reported Wednesday.
Beijing has stopped offering subsidies to the country's wind power sector six months after the United States lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization, US officials said Tuesday in Washington.
"It is understandable that the Chinese government is ending subsidies to an industry that is strong enough to compete with international players," China Wind Energy Association vice president Shi Pengfei was quoted saying.
The industry group declined to comment when contacted by AFP.
The United States had accused China of providing several hundred million dollars in illegal grants since 2008 to wind turbine makers for using Chinese components. Beijing had insisted its policies complied with WTO rules.
The assistance ran as high as $22.5 million for a single grant, it said.
Chinese companies, including Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Co Ltd, said the size of the subsidies was small and their cancellation would have little impact on the industry, the China Daily reported.
"We already purchase components globally," Yao Yu, director of public affairs for Goldwind, was quoted saying.
As the United States and China tussle to dominate the green energy sector, Washington has cast China's decision to halt the subsidies as a victory for US workers.
"We challenged these subsidies so that American manufacturers can produce wind turbine components here in the United States and sell them in China," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.
"The United States is pleased that China has shut down this subsidy programme," he said.
The wind turbine case came on the heels of other complaints over a range of trade issues, from tyres to beef to the level of China's currency, which Washington says is kept undervalued to aid exports to the United States.
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