WASHINGTON Dec 18 The United States on Tuesday
pressed forward with plans to slap steep punitive duties on
wind turbine towers from China, keeping up friction on the clean
energy front as it welcomed a high-level Chinese delegation for
trade and economic talks.
The U.S. Commerce Department set final anti-dumping duties
ranging from 44.99 to 70.63 percent on utility-scale towers
manufactured in China to offset what it said was unfairly low
pricing and additional countervailing duties of 21.86 to 34.81
percent to combat Chinese government subsidies.
The department also slapped final anti-dumping duties of
51.40 to 58.49 percent on wind towers from Vietnam.
A U.S. trade panel has final approval over the duties and is
expected to vote on the case in late January.
The action came as a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier
Wang Qishan was in Washington for the U.S.-China Joint
Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting, a high-level bilateral
forum to address barriers to trade and investment.
Wang will attend a dinner on Tuesday evening hosted by U.S.
Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Acting Commerce Secretary
Rebecca Blank and is expected to meet with U.S. Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday morning.
The main meeting on Wednesday takes place against the
backdrop of high-stakes negotiations between President Barack
Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on a
deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax
increases and spending cuts that begin early next year.
The White House is also pushing for an increase in the
nation's $16.4 trillion statutory debt cap as part of any deal.
The U.S. Treasury expects to reach the debt ceiling by year-end
and will likely run out of options to free up more borrowing
capacity by sometime in February, risking a potential default.
China is the United States' largest creditor, giving it a
deep interest in Washington's budget debate.
U.S. companies are not expecting sweeping new commitments
from China from Wednesday's meeting, but are hoping for action
on longstanding concerns ranging from Chinese barriers to U.S.
farm products to policies that pressure U.S. companies to
transfer valuable technology to China to do business there.