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Solar business: China wants WTO action against US

17 August 2018

Imports of cheap Chinese panels helped triple USA solar electricity generation between 2012 and 2016.

BEIJING-China says it is challenging a U.S. tariff hike on solar panels before the World Trade Organization, adding to its sprawling conflicts with U.S. President Donald Trump over trade and technology.

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his tariffs on foreign steel are saving the US industry and he predicted that in the future American steelmakers will mostly face domestic competition, the Wall Street Journal reported.

China's commerce ministry accused Washington of erecting trade barriers while subsidising its domestic industry.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on August 8 that tariffs of 25 percent on 16 billion dollars of US goods - including autos, fuel, steel products and medical equipment - will be activated on August 23, the same day when Washington initiates tariffs on an equivalent amount of Chinese imports.

China lodged its challenge at the WTO on Tuesday, the statement said.

China has responded to such measures with retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. But Trump said the tariffs are working, according to The Journal, and pointed to steel companies opening new U.S. plants as justification.

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A spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that Trump's subsidy policy gives the U.S. renewable energy industry an unfair competitive advantage and damages the rights and interests of Chinese sector players.

Of course, tariffs have been a mainstay in Canadian headlines for the past several months, with Trump levying duties on US imports of Canadian steel and aluminum.

Imports of cheap Chinese panels helped triple USA annual solar electricity generation between 2012 and 2016.

The 30 percent tariffs announced in January improperly help USA producers in violation of WTO rules, the Commerce Ministry said.

The United States has accused China of using subsidies and bulk manufacturing capacity to drive down prices and put USA competitors out of business in a range of sectors.

The United States and China have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on tens of billions of dollars worth of goods from each country, with another round of levies scheduled to being next week.

Solar business: China wants WTO action against US