Development Grants Promote U.S.-China Environmental Cooperation

By Susan Krause
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - Three new projects to encourage clean energy production and improved air quality in China were announced May 25 by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

The agency awarded two separate grants to support investment analyses of emissions control and monitoring projects in China's Shangdong and Shanxi provinces.  It also partially will underwrite the establishment of a joint U.S.-China training program and forum for exchange of information among U.S. and Chinese business representatives, government officials and regulators in the natural gas industry, according to the announcement.

USTDA Director Thelma Askey said the projects are intended to strengthen cooperation between the United States and China in environmental protection. Such cooperation has been a priority under the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Change, launched by the United States, China, Australia, India, Japan and South Korea in January.  (See related article.)  

Askey emphasized the importance of increased involvement by China's public and private sectors in applying advanced technology to reduce emissions of pollutants and production of greenhouse gases.

"Through our joint efforts, we will achieve our mutual goals for environmental sustainability," she said.

In Shandong province, USTDA provided $515,300 to the Shandong Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) to help support the Shandong Flue Gas Desulphurization Project.  The funds will be used for an investment analysis of the "technical and financial aspects of installing flue gas desulphurization and particulate control technologies in eight existing coal-fired power plants in the province," according to the USTDA announcement.  The Shandong Provincial EPB will choose a U.S. contractor to conduct the study.

USTDA awarded $186,400 to the Shanxi Provincial EPB to fund partially an investment analysis of "continuous emissions-monitoring systems in coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities across the province," the USTDA announcement said.  The evaluation will review improvements required under recently adopted environmental regulations.

Shanxi Provincial EPB has contracted with the air quality instruments unit of Thermo Electron Corporation of Waltham, Massachusetts, to conduct the study, USTDA said.

Askey said the trade and development agency has authorized $450,000 for the establishment of a U.S.-China Natural Gas Training Program.  The program is intended to increase commercial cooperation and policy exchange between the two countries, offering "specialized training for Chinese government officials, representatives from oil and gas companies, and industry regulators on key issues related to gas industry development, technology, regulation, and economics - including gas exploration and production, transportation, and consumption."

The training program also will be supported by contributions from corporations, industry associations, research institutes and government entities in both countries, according to USTDA.

Since 2001, USTDA has funded more than 80 initiatives supporting priority development objectives in China.  The agency backs projects that encourage U.S. commercial involvement in China in areas such as transportation, energy and environment.

USTDA advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.

For more information on U.S. policies, see The United States and China and Energy Policy.

The full text of the USTDA announcement is available on the agency's Web site.