House approves higher duties from Chinese goods; Chinese commerce minister responds

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure allowing the Commerce Department to impose higher duties on goods from China and other state-dominated economies that subsidize exports.

The measure is a response to a U.S. court ruling in December that Commerce lacked the authority to impose such duties. The bill would confirm that 24 existing tariff orders — 23 of them directed at Chinese subsidies — and six pending investigations remain valid. The other order is directed at Vietnam.

The U.S. Commerce Department is currently investigating whether Chinese producers export solar panels and equipment to the United States at improperly low prices because they receive subsidies in the form of low-cost land and other support.

According to The Wall Street Journal, China’s commerce minister has criticized the new trade enforcement measures as a violation of free trade but has acknowledged that some local Chinese authorities might be improperly subsidizing exporters.

Chen Deming said Beijing is committed to following World Trade Organization free-trade principles but insisted it is not bound by the laws of individual countries.

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