U.S. urges China to keep an open technology policy

* Concern about Chinese policy on indigenous technology

* Foreign turbine sales have fallen

By Doug Palmer

HONG KONG, May 16 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary
Locke urged China on Sunday to remain open to U.S. and other
foreign technology as it ramps up investment in clean energy to
fight global warming and secure its economy.

“China, given the incredible challenges that is has, should
in my view be taking the best technology from wherever —
whether it’s China, the United States, Europe, Japan, anywhere
else,” Locke said at the start of a trade mission to open doors
for U.S. clean energy firms.

The United States and a number of other countries have
concerns about China’s local innovation policies, which could
restrict foreign participation in Chinese clean energy projects.

“We know that the Chinese have made some modifications on
their latest proposals for indigenous innovation. (But) Other
economies still have concern about that, and we’ll be discussing
that with the Chinese,” Locke said.

“It’s more cost effective for companies and countries to
seek the best technology as opposed to buying something that is
not quite as good … and a few years later having to completely
revamp or purchase new technology,” Locke said.

Locke is leading a diverse group of 24 U.S. companies that
include power generation manufacturing giants General Electric
(GE.N: ) and Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, a division of United
Technologies (UTX.N: ).

Others are First Solar, a leading manufacturing of solar
modules that last year had $2.1 billion in sales, Peabody Energy
(BTU.N: ), the world’s largest private-sector coal company, and
Covanta Energy Corp, which processes municipal solid waste into
energy.

Beijing is pouring tens of billions of dollars into solar,
wind, biomass and nuclear power projects to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions blamed for global warming and to replace depleting
oil and natural gas supplies.

But U.S. officials say the barriers to China’s fast-growing
clean energy market can be as big as the opportunities.

Locke “will be talking about those things pretty frankly in
his meetings with Chinese government officials,” a senior
Commerce Department official said.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is
overseeing construction of a number of mega-wind farms capable
of generating 10 or more gigawatts of electricity.

Alan Wolff, a Washington-based attorney for Dewey and
LeBoeuf which studied China’s clean energy push for a leading
U.S. business group said China had not bought a foreign turbine
since 2005 for these programmes.

While foreign companies have made sales for smaller wind
projects, their share of China’s total wind power equipment
market has plummeted from 75 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in
2008 and could fall as low as 5 percent this year.

Locke will take the companies on Tuesday to Shanghai and
later this week to Beijing, where he will join U.S. Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner and other top U.S. officials for the
annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

U.S. concerns about China’s exchange rate practices are
expected to top the economic portion of the agenda.

Investment Research

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Matthew Jones)

U.S. urges China to keep an open technology policy