U.S. to impose duties on Chinese-made solar panels

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The U.S. Department of Commerce decided Tuesday that China’s government illegally subsidizes Chinese solar-panel makers and said it will impose duties ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent on Chinese-made solar panels and cells.

Seven U.S. manufacturers, including SolarWorld’s operation in Hillsboro, Ore., had petitioned the federal government to levy tariffs.

The Commerce Department’s investigation into the subsidy issue is ongoing, so the preliminary duties could change. A final decision is expected in June.

In 2011, imports of solar cells from China were valued at an estimated $3.1 billion, according to the Commerce Department.