The Commerce Department is imposing new import fees on solar panels made in China, finding that the Chinese government is improperly giving subsidies to manufacturers of the panels there.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday it has found on a preliminary basis that Chinese solar panel makers have received government subsidies of 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent. Therefore, the department said, tariffs in the same proportions will be charged on Chinese panels imported into the U.S., depending on which company makes them.
The tariff amounts are considered small, but the decision could ratchet up trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Several U.S. solar panel makers had asked the government to impose steep tariffs on Chinese imports. They are struggling against stiff competition from China as well as weakening demand in Europe and other key markets, just as President Barack Obama is working to promote renewable energy.