US losing competitive edge to India, China, Germany: Obama

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: Accusing “special interests” of stymying his efforts to rebuild the US economy, President Barack Obama says they have created new energy technologies and high-skilled jobs “not in America, but in countries like China, India and Germany”.

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“Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America,” he said in his weekly Saturday web and radio address.

“There is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now – and growth in the coming years – than clean energy,” Obama said. But for decades, “progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington”.

“Good manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. And we’ve seen companies produce new energy technologies and high-skilled jobs not in America, but in countries like China, India and Germany,” he said.

Obama said his administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology to create “hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012” for building high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, hybrid trucks, creating wind farms and solar plants.

Thanks to his administration’s clean energy incentives, a company called BrightSource in the Mojave Desert, “plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant that would employ about a thousand people in building a state-of-the-art facility,” he said.

“And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes – the largest such plant in the world. Not in China. Not in India. But in California.”

“With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy,” but “there are some in Washington who want to shut them down,” Obama said accusing opposition Republicans of promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects.

“This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future,” he said. “To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])