US gov't sets stiff tariffs on China solar panels

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is moving to impose stiff new tariffs on solar panels made in China, finding that Chinese companies are improperly flooding the U.S. market with government-subsidized ones.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that Chinese producers had dumped solar panels in the United States at margins ranging from 31 percent to nearly 250 percent. If the preliminary ruling is upheld, tariffs averaging 31 percent could be imposed on Chinese solar-panel imports.

The tariffs would be in addition to fees ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent imposed in March after the department found that China is improperly subsidizing its solar manufacturers.

The tariffs announced Thursday were higher than expected and could ratchet up trade tensions between the two countries.