'China, US must work together on energy'

By Wang Shanshan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-05 07:20

The transfer of energy technologies from the United States to China will help the world's two biggest energy consumers reduce their impacts on the global environment, a Harvard professor in Beijing said yesterday.

Nuclear, wind and solar energy technologies are being transferred, and US enterprises are playing a major role in the process, but worries about intellectual property rights are hindering their actions, Richard Vietor the senior associate dean of Harvard Business School (HBS) told China Daily in an exclusive interview yesterday.

He was in Beijing as part of the HBS' China Immersion Experience program at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management.

The professor of environmental management noted that the US-based Westinghouse Electric Company had recently signed a deal to help China build five nuclear reactors. Other US companies, like General Electric and Chevron, have also had commercial success in transferring solar and wind power and also coal gasification technologies to China.

In the future, hydrogen technologies, which the US is researching, could also be transferred, he said.

In the energy sector, the US Government bars only the transfer of defense-related technologies to China, he said.

"I can't think of an area where we (the two countries) compete more than we cooperate," he said in reference to energy technology.

The two countries must cooperate because they are the world's largest energy consumers and importers, and also pump the most carbon dioxide into the air, he said.

The biggest problem to emerge for the American side has been intellectual property rights, he said.

"I have talked with a lot of American companies that are not willing to invest here because they are afraid that their technologies will be stolen.

"I have also talked with firms here that are organizing their production so that their core technology is only accessible to a non-Chinese employee," he said. "It shouldn't have happened, but just imagine how terrible things can be if you have some great technology and it shows up at another company two blocks away."

The greatest fear of US companies has been the possibility that senior Chinese employees who understand the core technology could take their knowledge over to a competitor, he said.

(China Daily 01/05/2007 page3)

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