Published: Oct 11, 2012 12:22 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 11, 2012 6:31 AM EDT

BEIJING (AP) - China's government has criticized steep U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese-made solar panels as an improper trade barrier and warned they will hurt development of clean energy.

The Commerce Ministry on Thursday called on Washington to repeal the tariffs. The U.S. Commerce Department upheld charges of 18 percent to nearly 250 percent on Chinese solar panel producers to counter what it said was improper subsidies by Beijing to the industry.

"The United States is inciting trade friction in new energy and sending a negative signal to the whole world about protectionism and obstructing the development of new energy development," said Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang in a written statement.

Shen gave no indication what action Beijing might take in response.