The International Trade Commission ruled on Wednesday that Chinese companies have harmed domestic manufacturers by dumping cheap solar-power equipment in the U.S. market. The decision means that steep tariffs imposed last spring on photovoltaic cells and panels imported from China can remain in effect.

On the morning after Election Day, ITC backed a decision by the Commerce Department in October charging Chinese solar panel firms with illegal trade practices.

"Today's unanimous vote by the International Trade Commission confirms what has been apparent in the marketplace for the past two years — Chinese manufacturers, with the enthusiastic support of the Chinese government, have attempted to game the international trading system in order to gain a virtual monopoly on solar cells and modules sales in the U.S. market," said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America, which has been leading the case against Chinese producers.

"With this relief, combined with an aggressive domestic enforcement regime, there is hope that the United States can maintain a viable solar manufacturing base, conduct ongoing research and development, and continue to make solar an increasingly viable part of the American renewable-energy portfolio," Brinser said in a statement.

Commerce had approved countervailing, or antisubsidy, tariffs ranging from 14.78 percent to 15.97 percent on Chinese solar products in March, and antidumping tariffs ranging from 18.32 percent to 250 percent in May. The ITC decision means those tariffs will remain in effect.

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