US President Donald Trump approved steep tariffs on solar panel imports in January to protect US producers, triggering an outcry from China, South Korea and even protests from the US solar industry.
The 30 percent tariffs announced in January improperly help US producers in violation of WTO rules, the Commerce Ministry said. It said import prices were unfairly low due to subsidies and other improper support. At the same time, the European Union lodged its own WTO complaint in June against China's technology policies, which it said violated Beijing's free trade commitments.
China has tried to portray itself as a defender of the WTO-based trading system. China filed a complaint with the WTO to help determine the legality of the US policies, saying they not only harm China's rights but also undermine the WTO's authority, according to Reuters. One day later, the WTO received a complaint filed by India against the United States. If it fails, the case will go to a panel of experts to decide whether the trade controls are illegal.
On May 31, Canada announced it would impose "dollar-for-dollar" tariffs on 16.6 billion Canadian dollars (12.7 billion dollars) worth of USA imports on July 1 if Washington does not drop its steel and aluminum tariff threat.
One Chinese executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that USA solar tariffs were a "sideshow" and had little effect on Chinese business.
The trade frictions between Beijing and Washington began on July 6 with the imposition by the United States of tariffs of 25 percent on Chinese products with a value of 34 billion dollars. China responded with similar penalties on American imports.