Democratic U.S. House candidate David Wendt is supporting an investigation into Chinese trade practices that he says undercut the American clean power industry.

In a speech he will deliver Saturday at the state AFL-CIO convention in Cheyenne, Wendt is backing a petition by the United Steelworkers union asking the Obama administration to investigate possible unfair trading practices by China.

The Steelworkers contend that China's central and provincial governments are giving Chinese companies unfair advantages over American firms through the use of government subsidies that are prohibited under global trade rules.

Wendt says the subsidies provide Chinese manufacturers of wind turbines, solar panels and other clean energy equipment with price advantages that could drive U.S. companies out of business.

"This is really a very significant global trading issue," he told The Associated Press while providing a preview of his remarks.

Wendt noted that as president of the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs, a think tank that seeks solutions to global issues, he was worked closely with the Chinese for some 15 years on various energy related matters.

China's manufacturing industry is large and growing, he said.

While bringing down the cost of green energy is necessary to boosting clean energy production and use, Wendt said "the point is to do it in a way that is fair."

The Chinese subsidies will only skew the green power market and force competitors out of business, he said.

"We all have to play by the rules," he said.

Under U.S. law, the Obama administration will have 45 days to decide whether to accept the petition and launch an investigation that could lead to cases being filed against China before the Geneva-based World Trade Organization.

Wendt supports development of clean energy initiatives, including technology to find cleaner ways of burning coal. Wyoming is the nation's leading coal producer.

Wendt is seeking to unseat Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis in November's general election. Libertarian John V. Love, of Green River, is also on the ballot.