China will start an investigation into the U.S. government's support and subsidies for its renewable energy sector over trade barrier concerns, the country's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Friday.
Six renewable energy programs concerning wind, solar and hydroelectric energy in the states of Washington, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey and California will be put under investigation, the MOC said in a statement posted on its website.
The investigation came at the request of domestic inudstry associations, including the China Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports of Machinery and Electronic Products, and the new energy chamber of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
"The applicants argued that the U.S. government's policy support and subsidies for its renewable energy industry constitute a trade barrier, as they violate the rules of the World Trade Organization and have hindered and restricted the development of China's renewable energy sector," the statement said.
The applicants requested the elimination of any negative influence from the U.S. government's policy support and subsidies in order to maintain a fair trade environment, according to the statement.
The investigation will end before May 25, 2012, although it may be extended to August 25, 2012 under special circumstances, according to the statement.
Earlier this month, the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission launched a year-long investigation into Chinese solar cells after SolarWorld AG, and several other US-based solar cell companies, filed complaints alleging that Chinese companies sold solar panels below cost in the US market.