WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 180 U.S.lawmakers urged President Barack Obama Tuesday to fight backagainst what they called China's "unfair" tactics to dominateglobal production of clean energy technology.
"Through a variety of predatory trade practices, China'sindustrial policy seeks to give its manufacturers an unfairadvantage in the green technology revolution and to capturethis emerging sector," the group of mostly Democrats and atleast two Republican lawmakers said in a letter.
"If left unchecked, these practices will achieve theirintended effect, which is to drive American manufacturers fromthis critical emerging sector," they said.
The letter came on the eve of vote in the House ofRepresentatives on a bill to give the White House a new tool toprotect U.S. companies from China's currency practices, whichmany lawmakers also believe are unfair.
China's clean energy "practices, combined with Chinesecurrency policy and other predatory practices, are alreadytaking a heavy toll on the U.S. green economy and U.S. tradebalances," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levinsaid in a separate statement.
The group urged the U.S. Trade Representative's office toaccept a "Section 301" petition filed earlier this month by theUnited Steelworkers union asking for an investigation of"illegal" Chinese activities to spur development of the world'sleading clean energy technologies within its borders.
Those technologies include wind turbines, solar panels andother renewable energy equipment.
USTR has until Oct. 24 to accept the petition, which couldlead to one or more cases at the World Trade Organization ifChina does not address the concerns.
The trade office recently filed a pair of new tradecomplaints against Beijing at the WTO.
One was against Chinese duties on a speciality steelproduct the United States believes are unjustified. The otheraccuses China of ignoring a WTO commitment to open itselectronic payments market to U.S. credit and debt card firms.
The lawmakers urged USTR to act quickly to end any unfairtrade practices it finds in China's clean energy sector.
They also called for Obama to redirect resources within thefederal government to focus more time and energy on ensuringthat China lives up to the trade committments it made when itjoined the WTO in 2001. (Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Todd Eastham)