China Taking Lead Ahead of US on Clean Energy, Sen. Reid Says

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid returned from a week-long visit to China with nine other Senators. Reid seemed very impressed with what he witnessed of China’s economic development and simultaneously very worried about America’s future competitiveness, especially in key areas such as clean energy. From Forbes:

China is fast establishing itself as the world’s leader in clean energy and if the US doesn’t take this sector of the global economy seriously, it risks being left behind, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday during a conference call with the press.

“China is investing heavily in clean energy and they are not just doing it for the environment. They are doing it for the economy, and for job creation. We need to understand in this country that if we do not want to be dependent on foreign oil, we must develop this sector of our economy. To say that China is leading in this market would be an understatement,” Reid said.

Reid and nine US senators, most of them Democrats, returned Tuesday from a week long trip to China to meet with Central Bank and other officials, including some business leaders. It was the largest delegation of US elected officials ever to visit China.

Reid’s trip was also his first to the country in 25 years. The word “understatement” was used a number of times during the call when Reid discussed his trip. Reid is a Democratic Senator from Nevada.

“Our trip there was an unmistakable reminder how hard this US has to work if it wants to remain competitive. To see how much China has changed in 25 years was incredible. China’s growth and all that is being said about it is an understatement,” he said.

In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remarked to reporters that perhaps the U.S. Congress should explore legislative options to force China to appreciate its currency more quickly. From Reuters:

Congress should consider passing legislation to prod China into letting its currency rise in value more quickly against the dollar, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Wednesday.

“I think it’s something we have to take a look at,” Reid told reporters during a telephone briefing on his recent trip to Beijing with a group of nine other senators.

However, Reid also noted that inflationary pressures could be eroding some of the trade advantage the United States believes China gets from an undervalued exchange rate.

More about the itinerary of the Senators’ trip to China. From Politico:

A Senate delegation led by Majority Leader Harry Reid arrived in Hong Kong on Monday for the start of a weeklong tour of China.

He and nine other senators will spend the week on an “informational trip” during which they plan to meet with government officials and visit American investments and clean energy projects, Democratic leadership said in a statement. The senators plan to discuss “issues including clean energy, trade issues, currency, foreign policy and human rights” with Chinese officials.

Joining Reid on the trip are six Democrats — Michael Bennet of Colorado, Barbara Boxer of California, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Chuck Schumer of New York — and Republicans Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

The delegation plans to travel to Beijing, Chengdu and Xi’an.

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