China lodges WTO complaint over renewable energy tariffs

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China says US solar tariffs violate trade rules, lodges WTO complaint

China says the USA tariffs and the us "decision to subsidize renewable energy firms" has distorted the global market.

An array of solar panels is seen in the desert in Victorville, California March 13, 2015.

President Trump said Wednesday that tariffs are propelling the better trade deals, defending his trade wars amid a new round of strong economic reports from the government.

Washington announced in January the imposition of what it called safeguard tariffs for four years: a tariff of 30 percent in the first year, which would be reduced gradually to 15 percent in the fourth year.

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Before he spoke, the lira strengthened more than 3 percent, despite signs that the rift with the United States is as wide as ever. Robust U.S. economic data this year, even as Europe and other major economies have lost some steam, has helped keep the U.S.

But perhaps most worrying for American businesses selling in China, a significant minority of the people interviewed - 14, or 28 percent - want to stop buying American products now, and some say they are already boycotting anything made in the U.S. Others said they would continue to buy American but that could change in the future.

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

Another round of USA tariff hikes on $16 billion of Chinese goods is due to take effect August 23.

The president is engaged in trade disputes with several major economies, including China. It said on May 14 it had issued a request to the WTO for a dispute settlement process with Washington.

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A spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that Trump's subsidy policy gives the United States renewable energy industry an unfair competitive advantage and damages the rights and interests of Chinese sector players.

According to figures from the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), US solar module production capacity fell from 1.5 gigawatts in 2011 to 1 GW previous year as a result of bankruptcies.

China claims its manufacturers have benefited not from direct subsidy but from a fierce competitive environment that has driven down costs. Only a fraction went to the United States, with India the biggest market.

Trump, in recent months, has frequently complained that other countries are treating the a "piggy bank" and that the being "robbed" by their trade policies.

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