By Wayne Ma

BEIJING--China on Monday hit back at the U.S. for taking another step to close a loophole that allowed some Chinese solar-equipment makers to avoid tariffs.

China's Ministry of Commerce, citing an official it didn't identify, said the U.S. ignored "facts and laws" related to the "rules of origin" for trade. The ministry reiterated earlier statements saying it was "strongly dissatisfied" with the measure and that the U.S. decision was an "abuse of trade remedies."

China's commerce ministry said it hoped the U.S. would halt its trade investigation as soon as possible. The agency added that the measures would hurt "the upstream and downstream photovoltaic industries" in both countries, which run the gamut from manufacturers who make the raw materials for solar components to solar-panel installers.

"Trade friction is unavoidable, but governments have the responsibility to control and avert their impact on the normal development of China-U.S. economic and trade relations," the ministry said.

Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department said Chinese solar companies dumped solar cells, panels and other equipment into the U.S. and levied provisional tariffs on the firms. Those tariffs will become permanent if the department confirms an initial finding this year and if a special U.S. trade commission finds the behavior hurt the U.S. industry.

The tariffs were prompted by a petition filed by SolarWorld Industries America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, Germany's biggest solar-panel maker. SolarWorld claimed that some Chinese solar companies avoided U.S. tariffs by shipping solar-cell components to overseas locations such as Taiwan, where they were used to make solar cells that were shipped back to China for assembly into solar panels.

Write to Wayne Ma at wayne.ma@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 28, 2014 04:24 ET (08:24 GMT)

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