BEIJING, China?A United States probe into claims China illegally subsidizes its green-energy industry will backfire as Washington will be forced to reveal its support for American renewables firms, a senior Chinese official has warned.
In the strongest response from Beijing since the US authorities announced their investigation on Friday, Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Bureau, said Washington ploughs billions into its green sector.
"Chinese subsidies to new energies companies are very small," Zhang said in comments reported by state media on Monday.
"But the United States had subsidized the new energy enterprises with 4.6 billion US dollars in cash in the first nine months of 2010, including three billion US dollars to wind power enterprises."
Zhang also speculated that the US probe was called to play to a domestic audience as America heads to the polls next month for midterm elections.
"I was very much astonished at it, wondering what the United States wants. Do they want fair trade, a normal dialogue, or transparent information?" he said.
"Judging from the procedures, I believe (politicians of) the United States are more willing to get votes," Zhang said.
The investigation was sparked after the United Steelworkers union?one of the nation's largest?petitioned trade officials to probe Chinese practices it claims contravene World Trade Organization rules.
It also accused China of providing more than 216 billion dollars' worth of subsidies to green technology makers.