Rumors that the United States would slap tariffs on China goods are now reality. The US Commerce Department set duties on billions of dollars of solar energy products from China. The Commerce department says it’s implementing the protectionist measure to counter cheaper-than-global market value products. But free market economy advocates say the tariffs are detrimental to commerce and could backfire on the US. The Commerce department claims China was "dumping" imported solar panels at 18 to 250 percent below fair value. China rejects the US’ charges and is urging for the reversal of the US policy--claiming that it violates agreements made during the G20 summit earlier this summer. Some experts say that disagreements over duties and tariffs could ignite a trade war, which both sides are trying to avoid; at least for now. Solar panels and other products are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US. The US Commerce Department reports that the country imported an estimated 3.1 billion dollars worth of solar cells and panels from China in 2011. But there is competition from other countries such as Mexico. The Commerce Department rejected requests to expand the scope of their tariffs to other Chinese goods--possibly to stave off a potential trade war. However, there have been discussions about setting tariffs on imported wind turbines from China. The US International Trade Commission will rule whether imports from China are hurting US companies before the measures are enforced. Appeals from affected companies are expected if the tariffs are approved. The ITC vote is expected in early November.