US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is leading the chiefs of 29 US companies involved in clean energy production to China and Indonesia in search of new markets in the fastest growing sector of the global energy market.
The Locke trade mission May 15-26 will stop in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Jakarta. While in Beijing, Locke also will participate in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue with Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
US exports of clean energy technologies create a win-win situation for the exporting and importing countries, Locke said.
The technologies can 'help both China and Indonesia and countries all around the world grow their own economies and meet energy demand in a way that won't put our planet and way of life at risk,' Locke said. He noted that Chinese leaders are showing growing alarm at their country's voracious consumption of fossil fuels. In the first quarter of 2010, sales of coal and oil in China jumped 24 percent, twice the rate of the country's economic growth, Locke said.
Indonesia has aggressive aims to increase its renewable energy production from 7 percent of generating capacity today to 15 percent by 2025, hence the invitation to the Locke trade mission to make a stop in Jakarta.
'Innovative companies like these [US companies] bringing emerging technologies to a dynamic new market are going to play a big role in meeting President Obama's ambitious goals laid out in his export initiative, because this administration understands the math,' Locke said, briefing reporters in Washington May 12. President Obama recently laid out his National Export Initiative, which calls for doubling US exports and creating 2 million jobs in the next five years.
'Energy is a $6 trillion market, and green energy is the fastest growing sector. The race to develop the new technologies the world will one day rely on is a race that this nation [United States] and all the developed nations must engage,' Locke said.
The commerce secretary said the United States seeks to become the production hub for clean energy technology, which it will export to the rest of the world. He noted that 8,000 components and 200 tonnes of steel are required to make one wind turbine.
In 2009, the United States exported $8.4 billion worth of power generation equipment to China, accounting for 12 percent of all US exports to China, according to the US-China Business Council. Regarding US exports to Indonesia, machinery accounted for 12 percent of the total in 2008, according to the Office of the US Trade Representative. The office did not have a specific figure for power generating machinery.
Commenting on US exports of high technology to China, Locke said the US government is moving to eliminate restrictions on many items deemed to no longer pose a threat to US security if possessed by other governments. At the same time, the US government will clamp tighter export restrictions on a shortened list of technologies considered to be essential to US security. The secretary said 95 percent of all US exports to China require no export license. Of the goods that do require licenses, the secretary noted that 98 percent of them are approved. In assessing US trade disputes with China and Indonesia, it is important to keep in mind that the disputed items involve only a minute fraction of the total trade volume, Locke said.