WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States slapped on Friday a second round of duties on wind turbine towers from China, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries in the renewable energy sector.
The U.S. Commerce Department said it was imposing preliminary anti-dumping duties of about 20 percent to 73 percent on Chinese-made steel towers.
It also set preliminary anti-dumping duties of about 53 percent to 60 percent on steel towers from Vietnam to offset what the department said was below-market pricing.
U.S. imports of the wind towers in 2011 totaled about $222.1 million from China and about $78.8 million from Vietnam.
The decision is another victory for the Wind Tower Trade Coalition, a group of U.S. producers who say they are being driven out of business by unfair Asian competition.
In May, the Commerce Department set preliminary "countervailing" duties of about 14 percent to 26 percent on Chinese towers to offset Chinese government subsidies.
The United States has also set preliminary duties on solar panels from China in another renewable energy case that has strained trade ties.
Importers have to post bonds based on the preliminary rates while Commerce continues its investigation. A final decision on duty rates is expected by the end of the year.
In a second trade case on Friday, the department set preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging from about 136 percent to 188 percent on wire clothes hangers from Vietnam and about 70 percent to 125 percent on hangers from Taiwan.
Imports of the hangers were about $32 million from Vietnam and about $12 million from Taiwan in 2011.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Philip Barbara)