China Blasts US Solar Tariffs

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American tariffs on solar imports and subsidies for domestic companies are harming Chinese industry and risk eroding the World Trade Organisation's authority, Beijing claimed, as it made a formal complaint to the organisation.

US President Donald Trump approved in January recommendations to impose a safeguard tariff on solar imports of 30% that will be reduced to 25% in the second year, 20% in the third, and 15% in the fourth.

Both the safeguard and the subsidies "have seriously damaged China's trade interests", said the spokesperson, before adding: "We urge the United States to take concrete actions, respect the rules of the WTO, and abandon the wrong practices so that the relevant trade can be restored to normal track".

The action, however, is not expected to have an immediate impact on China's major solar manufacturers, as their exposure to USA markets was reduced after earlier trade disputes.

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Another round of US tariff hikes on $16 billion of Chinese goods is due to take effect August 23. "I think China chose to bring it up in order to keep up the rhythm of the trade dispute", she said.

On July 6, USA tariffs on 34 billion dollars of Chinese goods came into force, and China responded by enacting tariffs on 34 billion dollars of goods it buys from the United States.

China's solar power manufacturers could face a wave of closures after the country's state planning agency announced plans to cap new capacity additions at just 30 gigawatts this year, down from a record 53 GW in 2017.

"Solar is only a piece on the big trade chessboard", said another Chinese solar executive, who also declined to be named. That led to complaints it was undermining the global trade body.

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