Obama blocks Chinese firm’s purchase of U.S. wind energy projects

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday issued an order revoking a Chinese company’s purchase of four wind farm projects in the United States citing national security concern, amid the fierce presidential election battle.

The order directs Ralls Corporation to divest its interest in the wind farm projects that it acquired in the U.S. state of Oregon earlier this year.

“Ralls Corporation is owned by Chinese nationals, and is affiliated with a Chinese construction equipment company that manufactures wind turbines. The wind farm sites are all within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon,” U.S. Treasury Department on Friday said in a statement after the presidential order.

The privately-owned Chinese company Ralls Corp, which had been installing wind turbines that had been made in China by Sany Group, will now be forced shelve its plans and divest its interest in the four wind farm projects it acquired earlier this year.


In recent weeks, Obama and his Republican opponent in the presidential race, Mitt Romney, have traded jabs over which of them would be more effective in dealing with the challenges the ascendant Chinese economy poses to the United States. On Sept. 17, the U.S. and China filed international trade complaints against each other, boosting tension over trade issues.

The president’s action demonstrated the administration’s commitment to protecting national security while maintaining U.S. long-standing policy on open investment, claimed the Department, chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

The CFIUS includes such members as the Secretaries of State, Defense, Commerce, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the U.S. Trade Representative.

During this election year when the U.S. economy is mired in tepid growth and high unemployment rate, both Democrats and Republicans are using China-bashing tactic to woo some blue-collar voters.

But some economists warned that the protectionist moves taken by the Obama administration will ultimately hurt bilateral economic ties and Americans’ job creation efforts.

As China and the United States have grown increasingly interdependent on each other in economy, trade disputes also increase during the Obama administration.

The Chinese government has repeatedly urged the United States to abide by its commitment against protectionism and maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.

“Through consultations within the WTO trade dispute settlement mechanism, the Chinese side hopes the U.S. can correct its wrong-doing and properly deal with concerns from China,” said Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, at a recent press briefing.