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China Probes US Renewable Energy Policy

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-for-the-goose-good-for-the-gander dept.

China 240

PolygamousRanchKid writes "China's Commerce Ministry on Friday announced an investigation into U.S. government policy and subsidy support for renewable energy, after a U.S. decision earlier this month to probe sales of Chinese-made solar panels in the United States. 'The Ministry of Commerce has decided to initiate a trade barrier investigation into policy support and subsidies for the U.S. renewable energy sector,' a statement on the ministry's website (www.mofcom.gov.cn) said. The announcement said Chinese companies argued that the U.S. policies 'constitute a trade barrier against the export of Chinese renewable energy products to the United States.'"

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It's outstanding! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182458)

pot. kettle. black (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182466)

They should look in the mirror.

Re:pot. kettle. black (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182742)

This was modded offtopic by terrible drivers.

Remember Solyndra (2, Insightful)

xiando (770382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182468)

Solyndra got cheap loans from the Obama administration, yet they want belly up despite their unfair advantages.

Re:Remember Solyndra (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182520)

Oh, and Chinese made solar panels sold for cheaper than the cost of them being made is not an advantage?

In the 1980s, Harley was nearly shuttered by motorcycles from abroad being dumped on the US market for cheaper than they could be produced. Congress stopped the BS and even though one may not like hawgs, they are still around, and a decent choice. Now our congress just stands back and lets foreign companies do business practices that would have caused war declarations in the past, especially vital infrastructure decisions.

Remember, alternative energy is likely how our economy will get out of the shitter. There is a lot of innovation that can occur in every place for energy generation, storage, and conservation. China dumping their panels to shutter US companies is them attacking the economy and wanting to keep that from happening.

Oh, their WTO complaints? The WTO agreement in itself is in violation of the Constitution and fundamental US sovereignty. Once we get the current crop of cretins in Congress out of office (regardless of "D", "R", or in the case of one Internet-hostile senator, an "I" by their names), maybe it can go with them.

Re:Remember Solyndra (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182586)

Harley was nearly shuttered due to bad management and an image which the mass market didn't want to be associated with. They would never be able to compete on price with Honda or Suzuki. Their saving grace was a genious marketing manager who turned the "biker gang" image into a "weekend warrior" image.

Their financial problems started long before cheaper bikes being imported.

Re:Remember Solyndra (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182634)

Harley was nearly shuttered because of their engineering and managerial incompetence. Congress's solution made the problem worse: they instituted an enormous tariff on any motorcycle with more than 700cc of engine displacement. This just meant that the Japanese manufacturers subsequently figured out how to wring absurdly large amounts of horsepower from small-displacement engines, while Harley continued to sit around with their thumbs up their asses. Today, any of the big four Japanese makes produce a bike with a 600cc engine that produces over a hundred horsepower, whereas a 1200cc Harley engine struggles to break 45hp. So the Japanese companies sell all kinds of bikes to every market all over the world while Harley sells gaudy, incompetent cruisers to an increasingly aging market of American fanboys.

It is not just the Japanes who make bikes.... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182880)

You seem to forget the likes of BMW, Ducati and Triumph.

It is funny that here in the UK, a UK made bike (Triumph) range is generally cheaper than the Japanese Competition.
If you take a trip around their factory, you will soon see why. All the best CAR production methods in use on a Motorcycle production line.

IMHO, Harleys are very much the reserve of people who have more money than sense or like to get where they are going rather slowly. Following one along a twisty road is real entertainment. It is a miracle they can get round the bends in one piece.

Disclaimer, I've been riding Triumph's for 2 months short of 40 years. I currenty ride a 2011 Tiger 1050. My first Triumph, a 1969 TR6 is still running with 310K miles on the clock.

Re:Remember Solyndra (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182868)

No one "dumped" motorcycles here in the US - ever.

Harleys are over priced junk. Harley hasn't made a decent bike since the 1940s.

Harley are loud, they run horribly, they're slow - they're made for old guys who like to pretend that they're rough and tough and can give up their accounting or dental practice whenever they want and hit the road with Jack Nicholson and Pete Fonda. I guess they ride a Harley to look like low life trash.

I don't know what happened to society - it's like everyone aspires to be trash: white biker trash, black gangsta trash, or some other type of thuggy trash with tattoos and piercings.

Re:Remember Solyndra (5, Funny)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182942)


When we do it it's protecting our industry, when the rest of the world does it, suddenly "OMG unfair trade barriers!".

Won't somebody please think of the free market?

Re:Remember Solyndra (5, Interesting)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183002)

Just let the dollar depreciate to a fair value (meaning: a lot) and the US industry will be competitive in no time. You would have to pay a lot more for your oil and Chinese consumer products though. When all the other countries have artificially depressed currencies, you should start to wonder about yourself. You know, just as you should when all the other jerks are driving on the wrong side of the road.

Re:Remember Solyndra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182566)

^ conservobot probing the /. topics! nice...
to bad this has nothing to do with at least trying to develop a fledgling US industry that the free market is FAILING to do... and having those same "free-marketeers" (i.e. corp. execs and lawyers) end up with all the money anyway... (and still NO competitive industry).
This industry hasn't even started and the financial industry is stealing all the money.... they really don't care if the public see this because they have the squauk box chattering "it's the EVIL Obama, come to destroy the world".

Re:Remember Solyndra (4, Insightful)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183060)

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the failure is in the free market. The need for a competitive industry has been removed by government subsidies on the installation of solar panels - solar panels do not have to be cost effective because 40% of the cost is paid by other people (taxpayers). It is a typical outcome of governmental interference, and your solution would undoubtedly be more governmental interference with more cost to the taxpayers and no tangible benefits.

Re:Remember Solyndra (0, Flamebait)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182608)

Fun Fact: The Solyndra loans were approved of during the Bush administration. Have fun with your partisan pissing contest.

Re:Remember Solyndra (0, Flamebait)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182692)

And then modified under the Obama Administration so that the private investors (the ones contributing to Obama) got first grabs in case of failure. The US Gov is second behind them.

Re:Remember Solyndra (-1, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182770)

Fun fact: Solyndra was the first of about 5 other 'green' energy companies that got Obama's crony capitalism touch. It's a partisan pissing contest alright, the problem is you just don't realize how corrupt Obama really is.

It's the Chicago way.

Re:Remember Solyndra (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182892)

Nope, It's the American Way (not Amway, by the way)

Re:Remember Solyndra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183268)

not Amway, by the way

You obviously have never dealt with amway/quixstar...

Re:Remember Solyndra (5, Informative)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182808)

That's a drastic oversimplification of the thing, from what I've read, so much so that it's hardly a fact. The loan was neither approved nor approved of during the Bush administration.

Yes, the loan program that Solyndra was approved under was started during the Bush administration. Yes, Solyndra was selected as a possible loanee during the Bush administration. No, the loan was not approved during the Bush administration. The loan went up for review before Obama took office and was denied. (Note that that doesn't mean the Bush administration was necessarily opposed to the loan.) During the Obama administration it was revived and revised. It was pushed forward more quickly than some were comfortable with, with groundbreaking ceremonies being planned and scheduled while review of the loan was still pending. Communications show the worry that officials had that the groundbreaking would be leaked just before the OMB might recommend against the loan.

I'm not trying to take a side either way here, just fill in some details. Maybe it will help prevent the "partisan pissing content" and flamewars you seem to want to provoke.

Much of the failure due to Obama not Bush (3, Informative)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182912)

Fun Fact: The Solyndra loans were approved of during the Bush administration. Have fun with your partisan pissing contest.

I'm sorry, you seem a bit short on facts. Here are some facts from the left leaning New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

Preliminary approval under Bush, final approval under Obama. Then financial analysis was skipped under Obama and warnings were ignored. Plus Solyndra's owner was a top Obama campaign contributor. Plus the Obama administration structured the deal so that investors would get paid before taxpayers if the company failed.

"George B. Kaiser, a billionaire from Tulsa, Okla., was a fund-raiser for Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign and the backer of a foundation that is Solyndra’s leading investor ... during the period when Solyndra’s loan guarantee was under review and management by the Energy Department, the company spent nearly $1.8 million on Washington lobbyists, employing six firms with ties to members of Congress and officials of the Obama White House. None of the other three solar panel manufacturers that eventually got federal loan guarantees spent a dime on lobbyists."

""“It was alarming,” said Frank Rusco, a program director at the Government Accountability Office, which found that Energy Department preliminary loan approvals — including the one for Solyndra — were granted at times before officials had completed mandatory evaluations of the financial and engineering viability of the projects. “They can’t really evaluate the risks without following the rules.” The Energy Department’s senior staff has acknowledged in interviews the intense pressure from top Obama administration officials to rush stimulus spending out the door. “We had to knock down some barriers standing in the way to get these projects funded,” Matthew C. Rogers, the Energy Department official overseeing the loan guarantee program, said in March 2009, just days before Solyndra got its provisional loan commitment. Mr. Rogers said Energy Secretary Steven Chu had been personally reviewing loan applications and urging faster action on them.""
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/us/politics/in-rush-to-assist-solyndra-united-states-missed-warning-signs.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

"At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn't rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn't need the help. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also at the meeting, had a different view. Under pressure from Congress to speed up the loans, he wanted less scrutiny from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB."
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/26/nation/la-na-energy-loans-20110927 [latimes.com]

"Energy Department officials were warned that their plan to help a failing solar company by restructuring its $535 million federal loan could violate the law and should be cleared with the Justice Department, according to newly obtained e-mails from within the Obama administration. The e-mails show that Energy Department officials moved ahead anyway with a new deal that would repay company investors before taxpayers if the company defaulted."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/solyndra-obama-and-rahm-emanuel-pushed-to-spotlight-energy-company/2011/10/07/gIQACDqSTL_story.html [washingtonpost.com]

Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182484)

We need to do everything we can to protect our economy from China. China complaining just shows we are starting to do things right.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182940)

I agree, and I don't know why protectionism and nationalism are such bad words here. Looking out for yourself and talking pride in yourself in a dog-eat-dog world are both actions of a healthy individual, but now we as a nation could be personified as a drug-addicted whore peddling our ass on the street, occasionally starting senseless fights.

There's a lot of money involved in our domestic and government work. If we can ban outsourcing (for example) at the expense of some executive's multi-million dollar bonus, so be it. A decent paycheck should be enough. Let the greedy fuckers move to Dubai if they want personal tennis courts and multi-million dollar bonuses.

how about a probe of china currency rigging? (5, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182486)

how about a probe of china currency rigging?

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (4, Insightful)

xiando (770382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182500)

How about a an audit of the Federal Reserve and a probe of their currency manipulation? You do realize that the sole purpose of the QE packages was to push the US dollar down? The US is the biggest currency manipulator of them all. You should generally not throw stones when you are sitting in a glass house.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182628)

That's not really interesting. I take it you've forgotten about all the USD that China has borrowed to artificially depress the cost of its labor. Much of the collapse was a direct result of Americans being unable to pay for the things they bought. That's not entirely the fault of the Chinese government, but they Chinese government did have a prominent hand in making it harder and harder for families to be able to afford even basic necessities like health care. And the Chinese government did extend credit to the US specifically to better its own economy without any concern for the legality of doing so.

QE itself isn't an issue the way that you think it is. The vast majority of that money is metaphorically sitting in bank vaults and has yet to hit the economy. It's effectively no different than if they had just changed the FDIC regulations to require banks to hold less in reserve.

Then again, given the name, I have a feeling that you know precisely zero about what's really going on in the world outside of China or are otherwise blinded.

Not True! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182830)

Much of the collapse was a direct result of Americans being unable to pay for the things they bought.

This is blatantly false. There were bad loans, but they did not cause the collapse. The collapse was caused by packaging these loans together, reselling them, chopping them up, mixing them with other chopped up packages, rating these re-packaged loans fraudulently high, de-regulation on the insurance for these loans that did not have to be backed by sufficient capitol, and the ratings groups betting against the packages that they rated high.

To say this collapse was caused by Americans being unable to pay for the things they bought is naive at best. The average American home buyer deserves some of the blame to be as gullible as they were to over extend themselves on homes they clearly could not afford. But this must be tempered by the fact that they were often duped into believing they could afford it, and we are STILL having to fight tooth and nail to get regulation on the loan industry to get the terms of a loan clearly stated in plain english!

Re:Not True! (2)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183006)

The terms of loans have been "pretty much in english" ever since I bought my first property over 20 years ago. It wasn't hard to understand then, and it isn't today. The collapse was caused by people buying more house than they could afford, betting on the fact that the price would go up and they would be able to refinance it later using the equity in the house. When demand started to drop, the equity stopped going up, and the worst of the offenders started to have to bail, the whole bubble burst.

Re:Not True! (2)

thaylin (555395) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183302)

Yes, this was ONE of the causes, however before deregulation of the industry this would not have been possible, as banks would have said HELL NO!. However after deregulation they said HELL YES! because they can make money even off a default.... So while people buying homes they could not afford was a small cause,t he bigger cause was the greed of the banks and the deregulation.

Debt circle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182834)

The USD that China has borrowed is sold by the US government to fund the US debt of people buying things from China with credit.

The problem for the USA is that the proportion of Chinese trade that involves the USA is going down every year, reducing China's economic dependence on the USA.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (3, Interesting)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182886)

China did not extend US credit. They purchased government bonds and securities for secure investments. US investments are still considered one of the safest places for foreign countries to park and grow their cash. Even with all of China's investments to date they amount to only 6% of outstanding bonds and securities. And while we are at it how about we interject a few more facts? The US is still the largest economy and the number #1 manufacturer in the world even after we have supposedly sent all our jobs overseas. China has narrowed the gap, and may one day become the largest but but they have started running into problems just like the US subsidizing the renewable energy market and they are facing more competition from the other southeast Asian countries who can pay slave wages to compete. China may one day reach #1 but they have population of 1.3 billion compared to the US population of 300 million. They should be able to produce more but for some reason they have not quite got the hang of it yet.

Re: China has "borrowed" USD. (3, Informative)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183152)

Ah yes, China has "borrowed" USD.

And I thought they borrowed USD to the US government, and not a small amount either:
http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/moneymatters/ss/How-Much-US-Debt-Does-China-Own.htm [about.com]

It is correct that China keeps the Yuan Renminbi low, in order to do so, it has to sell Yuan Renminbi and buy USD from people willing to sell USD. It also will invest these USD somewhere, or buy US debt. This works due to the USA and other states importing tons of goods from China and increasing US living standards with them. It is ironic that "communist" China is better at "free trade" than the USA, with the assistance of the US industry, which finds it more profitable to do so.

Your country would be broke without China, and it is quite disconcerting to have such a cause of conflict between two large nations.

And yes, you are right with one of your arguments, but this is because your arguments contradict each other: You blame China both for withdrawing USD and not withdrawing them.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183248)

And the Chinese government did extend credit to the US specifically to better its own economy without any concern for the legality of doing so.

Why would it be illegal? There are no international laws that govern managing the economy of a nation state.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (4, Interesting)

blankinthefill (665181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182690)

The obvious difference here is that, while the Fed manipulates currencies, there is an international effect due to that manipulation, ie the price of the dollar rises or falls against other currencies. There may even be intentional manipulation to try to force an outcome, but the fact remains that value in monetary markets is NOT set by the Fed, it is set by what money market buyers believe the real value of the dollar to be. China, however, has pegged the yuan to the US dollar, and artificially lowered it's value in order to obtain a more competitive stance in international markets. It's estimated that the yuan may be undervalued by as much as 37% when compared to its actual purchasing power. And yet the US is the biggest currency manipulator? I think that's a bit of hyperbole that we're better off without.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183004)

Push it down against WHOM?

We helped out EU, Japan, South Korea, India, etc. They were little changed. The reason that we dumped it (2x in fact) was to force high inflation on China. No other reason. And yes, of course, you would be upset about that. The real estate bubble that is popping right now in China is due to America. About fucking time.

When your gov. starts playing fairly, then we can talk. In the mean time, it is long past time for the west to say no to your gov.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182502)

how about a probe of china currency rigging?

"china currency rigging" == "lending money to the US" - this doesn't need a probe, any economist understands this

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182642)

It goes somewhat beyond that. The issue isn't just the lending, but where the money is coming from in the first place and all the deals in China denominated in USD rather than RMB. Additionally, much of the money that they've been lending the US should have been going to the workers to help them climb out of poverty or improve workplace safety.

Not that I can blame the Chinese government in this instance, they're in a really tough spot and even a relatively modest appreciation in the RMB can lead to huge numbers of job losses. I just think that if the shoe fits...

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182516)

If the present economic system wasn't designed to funnel money & wealth to powerful players, China wouldn't be able to use it to funnel money to themselves. The solution isn't to whine that China isn't being altruistic, but to fix the system so that actors can't trivially game it. Other nations were upset that oil is sold only in US dollars. They decided to deal with this American rigging by vowing to sell their oil in an alternate currency, perhaps the euro or perhaps something asset-based. The US bombed their asses and took over their oil supplies for its favorite transnationals.

a US probe of China oil rigging in the ... (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182536)

how about a probe of US oil rigging?

Or, even better, a US probe of China oil rigging in the “West Philippine Sea"? ;)

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2011-11/21/c_131259724.htm [xinhuanet.com]

'A couple of months ago, Prof. Lyle Goldstein painted a doleful picture in the Foreign Policy magazine. He said if U.S. leaders heed his advice, they should shed most commitments in Southeast Asia, which he portrays as a region of trivial importance situated adjacent to an increasingly powerful China. He maintained that "Southeast Asia matters not a whit in the global balance of power."'

Re: a US probe of China oil rigging in the ... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183106)

how about a probe of US oil rigging?

Its much better now that we switched from wood to steel.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182730)

And you think they manage their currency valuation any more rigidly than the US does?

The US uses politics and dealing globally to keep the value of the dollar strong.

So does China. The difference is that the rabid "need" for Americans to live well beyond their means, consuming vastly more than we produce, means China holds all the cards in that poker game. When their domestic market was weak enough they needed US sales, they had to tone down the rhetoric, but now that China's domestic market is growing massively, they don't need to be nearly as conservative about calling a duck a duck with the US.

The US doesn't wear the pants anymore in this relationship.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182786)

"The US uses politics and dealing globally to keep the value of the dollar strong. So does China."

Uh, no. China uses laws to peg its currency at an artificially low level. This is the equivalent of implementing a tariff on ALL imported goods, and putting a subsidy on ALL exported goods.

The US subsidises renewable energy? Well, how about China subsidises _absolutely every good they export_.

Also, even if you accept that the US tries explicitly to keep its currency strong - this is not a 'policy mirror' or 'moral mirror' of what China does. Currency wars involve making your currency weak to steal employment and production from others, effectively a "race to the bottom" in terms of making your own currency as cheap as possible, to make it dirt cheap to produce there while your own citizens enjoy a lower standard of living just to get the maximum of industry to be placed in your country. Making your currency as strong as possible is nothing of the sort and benefits others rather than yourself.

Saying that "The US and China does the same thing because one makes their currency strong through some methods and the other makes their currency weak through some methods" is a stupendous and damaging oversimplification.

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182840)

There's no issue with currency rigging.

How much people get paid is: (wage) *(value of currency)

If China devalues its currency by 10%, you can completely make up to that by cutting your salary 10%.

It just so happens that currency rigging is much easier to do politically and more inline with an inflationary economic system.

right after we get done with (3, Funny)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182874)

the probe of US currency rigging. I heard whenever their banks are about to fail, they just print money to make sure it doesn't happen. Scandalous.

Re:right after we get done with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183086)

I thought I noticed a jump in demand for softwood pulp...

Re:how about a probe of china currency rigging? (0)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183324)

Doesn't a nation state have the right to determine its own economic policy? If the government of a nation state decides to devalue its currency, thus reducing unemployment but also decreasing spending power, doesn't it have the right to do so? If it is so unfair, why doesn't the U.S. do the same? The average person would be poorer, but this would be balanced by higher employment, so maybe voters would approve. Would it also be wrong if the U.S. government chose this route, or is it only wrong when the Chinese do it?

Boycott China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182494)

See that, it's like a crack dealer... you start to get off the junk and they try to turn you into a two bit whore. Let China burn.

Two Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182526)

Fuck Them.

He said, She said. (5, Insightful)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182550)

I see China is mastering the art of He said, she said.

Back in the day, the US would (correctly) accuse China of something and it would go unanswered, so everyone would assume it was true:
US: "China's doing bad things."
China: (silence)
Populace: "Yeah, I guess it's true."

Now, in the 21st century, it goes like this:
US: "China's doing bad things."
China: "The US is doing bad things."
Populace: "Well, both sides are accusing each other. I guess they're both equally bad. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, right?"
China: (Laughs maniacally, thinks "This is the best way to do public relations. We don't even have to change anything.")

Reminds me of how China would constantly get hit with human-rights abuses accusations, then they started writing up biased reports against everyone else. "See, everyone else in the world is just as bad!"

The next phase (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182716)

So after China has mastered the art of the counter claim, next comes the defensive art of getting your attack in first:

US: "dum di dum di da - what a nice day it is"
China; "The US is doing a bad thing"
US: "We absolutely deny doing anything bad, ever, for all eternity <FX: thumps table with clenched fist>"
Populace: "Sounds like a bit of an over-reaction, maybe there IS something going on?"

However, ISTM they're not being a lot more subtle: "You want us to lend you $ X trillion? Sure, but we don't want to see any TV or newspaper exposee's about our human rights, or pollution, or foreign policy, or ..."

Re:He said, She said. (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182796)

Reminds me of how China would constantly get hit with human-rights abuses accusations, then they started writing up biased reports against everyone else. "See, everyone else in the world is just as bad!"

Are you suggesting they're either wrong, or not making a valid point?

Because, it seems to me they're making a valid point. Does China do bad things? Sure as shit they do. Does the US? If you think the US is any better, you're high. While there are definitely substantial differences culturally between the two countries, you're wearing blinders if you think the gap is anything but noise.

Sure, there are issues in China -- it is a country with nearly a billion people living in poverty after all, but its also a country with a middle class twice the size of the US. We may like to criticize things like child labor in their factories, but there's plenty of children living in poverty just as deep in parts of the US, and if you talk to people in China about it, they're the first to tell you its better to be ten years old and making four dollars a day than being ten years old and starving. I'm not sure the US has a moral high ground to stand on with the realities of farm labor, staggering poverty, complete lack of healthcare and social services in similarly poor portions of the US population.

Every country spends its time struggling between the betterment of the population and the power of the elite. There are lots of countries that get that balance done well, but they're not superpowers like the US and China. Superpowers get that way by taking power, by wielding their influence and through propoganda.

It'd be good for our country for the general population of the US would stop being ignorant and living in a mouthbreathing "US good, big adversary bad" mentality all the time.

Re:He said, She said. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183328)

if you talk to people in China about it, they're the first to tell you its better to be ten years old and making four dollars a day than being ten years old and starving.

The current response goes like that:

  • If a child works he doesn't have time to go to school
  • Nobody starves in the USA

There can be a counter-argument, of course:

  • School is of no use to many anyway
  • Work is good; workers clearly understand where their daily bread is coming from, as opposed to pampered children living on other people's money (see OWS.)
  • Work is usually creative; most people are happy that their work is wanted and appreciated.
  • Perhaps nobody is starving in the USA today, but how long will that last? Those who live on public assistance don't have any stores of wealth as backup for a rainy day.

Traditionally and historically children started working as early as they could (starting with managing a flock of geese, I guess.) The school, if at all available, was the Sunday affair, and for some reason instead of calculus children were given some holy book (good luck decoding that.)

In my time, when I went to school myself, it was hard work. I'd gladly work at a lathe making some bolts instead of sitting in a bunch of courses that I had (and have) no affinity to, like literature or music or painting (modulo engineering drawings) or any sort of physical exercise beyond breathing. Those courses gave me nothing of value. All that I ever learned in those areas was learned willingly, independently, and in its own time. You just can't take a serious book written by a middle-aged writer about some serious love affair and then teach the subject to children. At best they will memorize your explanation and will mechanistically recite it whenever asked. However a grown man (outside of Slashdot) would be able to tell all about it in his own words.

Re:He said, She said. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183140)

US: "China's doing bad things."
China: (silence)
Populace: "No, I think US is full of shit."

Now, in the 21st century, it goes like this:
US: "China's doing bad things."
China: "The US is doing bad things."
Populace: "Well, both sides are full of shit."
China: (Laughs maniacally)


Re:He said, She said. (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183304)

Reminds me of how China would constantly get hit with human-rights abuses accusations, then they started writing up biased reports against everyone else. "See, everyone else in the world is just as bad!"

Generally, you don't have to look too far for human rights abuses when capital punishment is in effect.

Battle of the Cretins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182556)

Is there really such a thing as "free" trade amongst authoritarian countries? Do the Chinese economic practices of the laogai [aljazeera.com] qualify as a fair trade practice?

Maybe we should give up this farce of free trade. The only people who benefit from "free" trade are the gangsters and criminals who own and control major corporations and the bankers who fund them.

Subsidise them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182558)

unless they are too cheap in which case tax them.

Currency Value (5, Insightful)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182562)

Those whole issue of subsidies and trade with China are moot. Chinese currency policy already has a far greater impact on trade than any tariff or subsidy. China likes to claim that they don't manipulate their currency to gain an advantage but that is bold faced lie. European empires played currency games with each other for centuries and Japan/South Korea did the same in the 70s and 80s, we know exactly what it looks like.

Countries suppress the value of their currency to aid exports. The result is a massive trade imbalance, huge currency reserves, and lots of inflation. Now these things can happen without currency manipulation for a short while. But when the effect is massive and long lasting its a pretty good indication of government intervention.

Re:Currency Value (5, Informative)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183172)

and lots of inflation

That/s pretty much true and in fact on-going in China. But it raises the question whether it is effective at all to manipulate one's currencies. Today, the Japanese Yen, Taiwanese Dollar, Korean Won, etc all have a lower exchange rates than that of Yuan. Yen is like 80:1 against USD, while Yuan is 6:1. But we don't seem to complain too much about Japanese manipulation of Yen. Why? Because the wage inflation in Japanese has pushed up the final cost. Today, inflation is running high in China; market force would have restored the true market costs which are not that high given there are something like 1 billion laborers. The cost advantage in China is mainly due to its massive supply of labor -- simple supply and demand.

Another interesting thing in China is the black market which is prevalent there. Like the Intel processors in most PCs are smuggled into China. Same for Yuan. Back in the early 1990's, the official rate was 3:1 [wikipedia.org], but nobody exchanged at that rate. The black market rate at that time was 8:1, 2.5 times lower than official rate. Eventually, the Chinese government gave up and reset the rate to 8:1. Today, there is still the black market for currecies, but the rate is pretty much close to the official rate. (There are limited "white" markets [wikipedia.org] for Yuan in Hongkong now, trading in amount of the billions of Yuan, at a slighly lower rate for Yuan.) Would that signal the official rate is in fact not too much different than what a free market would support?

The invisible hand exists even if the official market is not really free. And why didn't our politicians make such complain back in the 1990's but do now? It feels like the accusation are at least partially an excuse made up by our politicians to hide their own ineffectiveness.

Greenhouse Tariff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182576)

This might be just the kick in the pants China needs to improve their greenhouse gas emissions. What if solar panels (and Chinese other goods) were subject to a greenhouse offset tariff, with a significant portion of the revenue to offset tax credits for green energy investment?

Off topic yet topical (1, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182592)

The us forbids the importation of manufactured goods that are sold for less than what they cost to manufacture. Otherwise foreign firms with deep enough pockets could drive their American competitors completely out of business.

Any us firm that suspects that this "dumping" is taking place can ask the Feds to investigate, which may result in a punitive tariff being used to level the playing field.

Ubuntu comes frOm south Africa and is distributed free of charge. Why can't Microsoft request a punitive tariff on it's import?

Such tariffs are applied quite a lot but I've never heard of them being applied to software.

Re:Off topic yet topical (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182624)

Exactly how would a tariff on imports of foreign GNU/Linux distributions would help Microsoft? It would perhaps help Red Hat increase Fedoras market share, but it would not change anything for Microsoft. And how would you go about applying a tariff on free software distributed over the Internet?

Microsoft itself says that Linux is a threat (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182670)

They come right out and say so in their annual report.

By law and by the constitution the us is permitted to inspect and charge tariffs on imported goods. They can even prevent the item's import if it does not comply with customs regulations.

I don't see how using the Internet as the port of entry has anything to do with it.

Re:Microsoft itself says that Linux is a threat (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182866)

I see your point, but from a practical point of view, a tariff on a free, freely distributed piece of software would be impossible to implement.

Not to mention, I don't think anyone is actually losing money with each copy of Ubuntu distributed, so there is, in fact, no dumping taking place.

Microsoft sure as Hell is losing money (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183088)

At one time Microft required oems to pay the windows license fee for sac pc they sold, even if windows wasn't actually installed on it. They made the dubious claim that this compensated them for the piracy that would result if pcs were sold with no os at all.

That practice was banned in their antitrust lawsuit. Now pcs are sold without operating systems all the time, with Linux being the os most commonly installed by the end users themselves.

While I agree it would be impractical to charge import duties in open source, it would not be by any means impossible. Just put a blue coat antivirus firewall on every Internet cable that crosses a us border.

While one would still be permitted to download open source files, they would be impounded by a customs department file server. Only by paying the tariff could you receive your file.

Chinas great firewall is quite leaky, but American defense contractors were the original builders of the Internet. Just think about what they could do with the help if the NSA.

Re:Microsoft sure as Hell is losing money (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183246)

Just put a blue coat antivirus firewall on every Internet cable that crosses a us border.

Arguments about the possibility of inspecting all international data traffic aside... You do realize that we're talking about data, and not some physical good, right? Once one copy of Ubuntu gets past the "customs department file server" it could be endlessly copied, at no charge, without paying the tariff. This would be legal too, since it is permitted by the software license.

The punitive tariff would account for that (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183276)

Microsoft could petition to have the tariff based on the lost sales that would result from a single item being installed then duplicated.

It wouldn't be hard to estimate how many copies of ubuntu get installed within the us. Just analyze the log files from a variety if web servers. Alternatively ISP packet sniffers could provide the data for the estimate.

Re:Microsoft itself says that Linux is a threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183176)

Actually Microsoft, Apple, etc are losing money with each copy of Ubuntu distributed, and if Linux was an actual company, you can sure bet they'd be brought up on dumping charges.

Re:Microsoft itself says that Linux is a threat (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182930)

Linux is a threat ONLY to Microsoft. Their Annual report is the the world view according to MS and ONLY MS.

What about RedHat? A US company who sells FREE software all over the world.
Oh, and they should break the $1B this year.

"when someone says he wants a computer... (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183186)

... to do just what he wants, give him a cookie."

You must be quite young, because you clearly don't know much about the software industry. Get back to me after you've read all the recent stories published here about the patent wars.

Actually red hat does not give away manufactured goods of any sort for free. Red hat enterprise Linux is colossally expensive.

Even if they did, it's perfectly legal fir American manufacturers to practice dumping domestically. Totally hypocritical sure, but also totally legal.

Now red hat does provide free source code. That does not meet the legal definition of a manufactured good. Only the compiled binaries do.

    It is for precisely that reason that you don't violate software patents by writing the source code to programs that infringe patent claims. You only infringe a patent when you create an unlicensed implementation. For software, only compiled binaries constitute implementations. I don't know how patent law applies to languages that aren't compiled.

I find your question quite puzzling (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183250)

Microsoft sells desktop, server and embedded operating systems. They sell applications like Microsoft office and server software like SQL server and Internet information server.

There us just about nothing that Microsoft sells for which the equivalent functionality cannot be had in open source. If you install ubuntu on your home computer and serve your company's website with a lamp stack, those are two computers all by yourself that you have lost Microsoft thousands of dollars in sales.

The headhunters I have to deal with to get software consulting gigs always require me to send them my resume in word format. But it has been years since I last used word; instead I edit my resume In open office then save in word format. Similarly I use openoffice calc for my budget rather than excel, and gnucash for my accounting rather than Microsoft money.

Good. About time we got tough on China (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182622)

I support anything that protects the US market from Chinese goods.

The only way out of the recession is to stop buying and subsidizing the Chinese. This goes for everything from Electronics to Rice to Grad Students.

Is everyone loving Globalization yet? (3, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182632)

This whole globalization scheme is working out wonderfully. We'll have a global aristocracy at the end of the decade if we can just keep it from blowing up.

Re:Is everyone loving Globalization yet? (2)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182888)

No need for the future tense there buddy. There's been a global aristocracy for quite some time now. It used to be that the only time you mingled with them was as you walked from the door to the coach section as you boarded a plane.... but now most have private jets.

i think we need to go a little more basic (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182636)

how about a probe of whether Chinese-produced solar panels are actually just planks of wood painted with black paint?

Re:i think we need to go a little more basic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182792)

nah, that crap got bought up by the stupid Flips thinking those are storefront mannequins, American QCs actually know what they're doing most of the time.

How about... (4, Insightful)

gabrieltss (64078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182650)

China takes a flying F@#$ off a cliff. isn't this the pot calling the kettle black! We should tell China to go to hell. We should put tariffs in place for any and ALL goods coming FROM China into the U.S.. That might level the playing field with their blatant currency manipulations.

Re:How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182740)

perhaps China should stop purchasing American products altogether as well then. that'll cripple quite a few large corporations, and make sure the US won't ever be able to get out of their depression ever again. yay! pretty please do that.

China doesn't import much from the us (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182790)

You must not be following the occupy wall street movement. The goods you purchase from American companies are largely made in china. American manufacturing is largely a thing of the past.

While we do still make software, piracy is rampant in china, with the Chinese government doing little to stop it.

Re:China doesn't import much from the us (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182946)

You overstate the loss of our manufacturing. China only surpassed the US in manufacturing in 2011


Re:China doesn't import much from the us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183012)


China was the United States' 3rd largest goods export market in 2010.

U.S. goods exports to China in 2010 were $91.9 billion, up 32.2% ($22.4 billion) from 2009, and up 890% from 1994 (the year prior to Uruguay Round). U.S. exports to China accounted for 7.2% of overall U.S. exports in 2010.

The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2010 were: Electrical Machinery ($11.5 billion), Machinery ($11.2 billion), Miscellaneous Grain, Seed, Fruit (soybeans) ($11.0 billion), Aircraft ($5.8 billion), and Optic and Medical Instruments ($5.2 billion).

U.S. exports of agricultural products to China totaled $17.5 billion in 2010, the largest U.S. Ag export market. Leading categories include: soybeans ($10.8 billion), cotton ($2.2 billion), hides and skins ($952 million), and feeds and fodders ($736 million).

Sure, the US imports more goods than it exports, but China still buys a lot from the US.

As for American manufacturing being a thing of the past, you must mean "no longer comprises half the world's manufacturing output, despite having only 5% of the population." Some sites with figures. Depending on how you count things, China might overtake the US in the category of "factory production" this year.

Let's blow up the economy (1, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182744)

We should put tariffs in place for any and ALL goods coming FROM China into the U.S.

And what do you hope to accomplish with doing that? You think causing a global recession, massive increases in a huge array of products, and significant damage to the multitude of business that do business with the worlds second largest economy is a good thing? Relations with China are not nearly as simple as you seem to believe...

That might level the playing field with their blatant currency manipulations.

China is/was manipulating their currency but that's not really as big a problem as it is often made out to be - certainly not the biggest problem. There are bigger problems. Forget currency subsidies, a lot of the large Chinese manufacturing concerns are directly owned by the government (including the military) and are given the sorts of advantages you might expect in such a situation. US companies have rarely been permitted to operate with the same degree of freedom in China that they enjoy elsewhere. The playing field is definitely not level over there. Doesn't mean US companies can't compete at all, but it is hard when the government is your direct competitor.

Plus a lot of the reason much manufacturing has moved there is simply that China has a lot of inexpensive labor. They have 5X the population of the US so labor is a resource they have an ample supply of. If you have a lot of something you can charge less for it. Simple supply and demand. That means goods with a high labor content are far more likely to be produced there. Having lots of people creates problems but it also is a competitive advantage in some ways too.

Re:Let's blow up the economy (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182852)

The other complication is that US-China trade figures are somewhat inflated by the fact that a lot of products now have their components made elsewhere in east Asia and the final assembly performed in China. While the value that China has added is small, they are credited with the entire value of the product.

Re:Let's blow up the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182870)

If everyone agrees that currency subsidies are so insignificant as to not be worth bothering with, then you surely neither you nor China would oppose it too much if - say - the US put up some massive ultimatum to end the currency manipulation or there's a new economic cold war all over again?

I mean - the currency manipulation is so insignificant, so laughably meaningless in the grand scheme of things - that China would just go 'yeah whatever, ok, we agree' immediately, right?

"Plus a lot of the reason much manufacturing has moved there is simply that China has a lot of inexpensive labor."

Key word being 'inexpensive'. You are demanding that people ignore a root cause that CAN be changed, and encouraging them to focus on a symptom that CANNOT be changed. The art of demobilisation, eh.

Re:Let's blow up the economy (4, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183162)

Protective tarriffs are the best solution to our national ecnomic woes. You're acting like trade defcits and exploit of people and environment by proxy of "free trade" are acceptable so long as to keep one economy, China's, afloat. That's stupid.

Products from foreign sources ought be taxed to matc equal locally produced products. Labor/outsourcing for US businesses, done in places of very low cost of living, needs to be taxed as an import to maintain competitive involvement in employing our own people.

This is what a country that serves its people does to protect their overall beneft and stability.
The only thing outsourced and chinese produced products does is it givesa slightly lower cost product, usually of inferior production quality, that only shareholders and ceos can benefit frm. Us employment drops, worker supply increases, and then you have skilled individuals that aren't capable of affording a home because wages are driven downward. Exacerbate the issue with h1b visas and you've got massive unemployment in the face of very few people reaping massive profits.

When your country representsyou, it doesn't let a very smal fraction fuck everyone else over like this.

Re:How about... (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182836)

Wow. For a second there, I thought I was on CNN or Youtube and my comment blocks had failed to load.

Re:How about... (1)

InnerInsight (2514816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38183168)

That ... That... That would go against the "FREE TRADE" agreements being made by BOTH political parties since the 1990's In addition to China entering the World Trade Organization in December 2001 with the help of the US and other big countries. A tariff should be employed for developing industries, like the sugar industry in the 1980's that got us all the High Fructose Corn Syrup as a bypass of the sugar tariff (among burgeoning as a result). I like the idea but if one imposes an artificial barrier, the natural course is to redirect around it as how we got Cory Syrup in everything that was used to be sugar. Lets Say we impose a tariff so as our solar industry won't be tanking by overly-cheap-pollution-laws-by-the-wayside Chinese Solar Panels. Tit for Tat will ensue so our "Global Economy" will just be the US and a couple countries while China corners everywhere else our tariff's don't reach. The only way to compete on China with exports is for us to come down to their level meaning 3rd world poverty for most of our population. In the short term some protection from congress for the alternative fuels industries from outside pressure is in order. But looking at History since the 1990's no way would congress pony up to do this as it gets in the way of Free Trade and now China can bring their complaints about the US the WTO.

I find, (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182750)

This i quite amusing, chinese copy everything, including , diplomacy methods, right now they just use the the same weapons that attack them, and more if in SOPA gets approved, they can make some pain in the ass statements when someone attacks their great firewall.

Dear China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182794)

Dear China,

Screw you. We have our own set of problems to solve and we're going to take care of our own.


The People of The United States

The US Solution (2)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182958)

Build a wall right round the country and stop all people and trade crossing it's borders.

You certainly don't welcome us Foreigners to your shores these days. We are all regarded as Terrorists until proven innocent.
I say this as an employee of an American Company.
I get more smiles getting into Russia than I do trying to enter the US.

I used to visit the US regularly on Holiday. Not now. That is your loss of foreign income. I think I'll go to Greece next year. They are far more welcoming that you lot.

A simple solution ... (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38182814)


China requires foreign corporations to be 50% owned by the Chinese gov and/or a Chinese company ? US should require the same of Chinese firms.

China manipulates their currency to gain an export advantage ? US should, once a month, calculate a percentage based tariff on all Chinese goods.

Reciprocity people. They can shoot lasers at a mirror all day long, and burn themselves in the process.

Re:A simple solution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183150)

No they don't. "Wholly foreign owned enterprise" (WFOE) means exactly what it says.

This ought to be fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38182920)

USA has their policies out front. OTH, China does not. They have many hidden things, which is what the communist have been doing for many many decades. So far, we have been subsidizing everybodies panels equally. I think that it is in the west's best interest to drop that, and say that it will subsidize only those nations that do not manipulate their money against the dollar, or have trade barriers and are not dumping. IOW, it is time to level the field.

Solar panel imports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38183360)

Personally I'm surprised there are so many solar panels imported from China. The profit margins are so slim in PV that it doesn't really make sense, at least for large-scale solar plants. Chinese companies are already building production facilities in the U.S. for just this reason. But then I suppose the end goal is to sell modules cheap and take a hit now while driving competitors out of business, so they can cash in later and manufacture everything in the U.S.

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