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The Obama administration on Thursday ordered hefty tariffs on solar panels imported from China, arguing the Chinese goods are sold below fair-market place and are endangering the U.S. clean energy industry.
The Commerce Department made the announcement after making a preliminary finding that the Chinese companys were "dumping" their goods in the U.S. As the Los Angeles Times explains, the move escalates an already "simmering trade dispute" between the two countries. If the decision is affirmed by U.S. trade officials this fall, 60 or so companies will face 31-percent tariffs for shipments retroactive to February. All other Chinese solar-cell exporters will be hit with a tariff of 250 percent.
The Obama administration’s decision is part of an overall effort to promote domestic manufacturing and crack down on possibly unfair trade practices, an area where his GOP critics have contended he hasn't done enough.
While many in the clean energy sector have complained that the Chinese manufacturers have an unfair advantage thanks to government support that includes hefty bank loans and low-cost land, Beijing officials deny those practices limit free trade, the Associated Press explains. "The U.S. ruling is unfair, and the Chinese side expresses its extreme dissatisfaction," China's commerce ministry spokesman, Shen Danyang, in Thursday.