China launches trade probe

The Chinese government says it will investigate whether US subsidies in several states for renewable energy projects create a trade barrier for Chinese companies.

The move, announced by the Ministry of Commerce on Friday, marks a new salvo from China in the two countries' ongoing string of accusations of unfair trade practices. The ministry said Chinese producers have complained that US subsidies create an unfair trade advantage, and the investigation could lead to a complaint with the World Trade Organization. The probe focuses on subsidies in five US states and whether they comply with WTO rules, the ministry said on its website.

"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 ministry's statement said.