By PAUL MOZUR Updated July 20, 2012, 3:21 a.m. ET
BEIJING—China's Commerce Ministry said Friday that it is investigating possible solar equipment subsidies by the U.S. and South Korea and their impact on Chinese manufacturers, widening a trade spat at a time of oversupply and weakening demand for solar power equipment.
The ministry has launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into polysilicon imports from the U.S., as well as an anti-dumping probe into imports from South Korea, it said in separate statements on its website.
The investigation follows a request by leading domestic polysilicon manufacturers, including LDK Solar Co. and China Silicon Corp., state-run news agency Xinhua reported Friday, adding that it will be completed before July 20, 2013 but may be extended for another six months under special circumstances.
China's top solar producer Suntech Power Holdings Co. reported a loss in the first quarter, while its revenue dropped by more than half from a year earlier amid lower prices and sales.
Major solar markets such as the European Union, the U.S. and China, which are struggling with oversupply and weak demand, have been trading anti-dumping allegations against each other.
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