BEIJING — China demanded Thursday that Washington repeal steep tariffs on solar panels that Chinese producers fear will shut their equipment out of the American market.

The tariffs upheld Wednesday by the US Commerce Department add to financial pressure on struggling Chinese solar panel manufacturers who are suffering heavy losses due to weak demand and a price-cutting war.

‘‘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,’’ Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement. It gave no indication whether Beijing might retaliate.

October 12, 2012