Washington-Beijing tensions escalate over solar issue

Beijing is up in arms with the US Commerce Department’s decision to go ahead with steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels, and says that the US is engaging in protectionism.

The Chinese fear the tariffs will completely shut their equipment out of the US market.

"The United States is inciting trade friction in new energy and sending a negative signal to the whole world about protectionism and obstructing the development of new energy development," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement. It gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate.

"We hope the U.S. side will correct its erroneous action with early termination of the trade remedy measures," Shen said.

China-US solar trade war
The Commerce Department upheld charges of 18 percent to nearly 250 percent on Chinese solar panel producers to counter what it said was improper subsidies by Beijing to the industry.

Beijing insists that research grants and tax breaks it offers are in line with its free-trade commitments and practices by other governments.

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