China to counter US steel trade mea­sures

Pro­tec­tion­ism could ‘poi­son’ in­dus­try: think tank

Global Times - - Front Page -

China will op­pose any “un­fair and un­rea­son­able” trade mea­sures by coun­tries such as the US against its steel com­pa­nies, a Chi­nese gov­ern­ment think tank said on Tues­day, ar­gu­ing pro­tec­tion­ism will “poi­son” the in­dus­try.

The Chi­nese Com­merce Min­istry on Tues­day voiced con­cerns over the US’ po­ten­tially se­vere pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures against Chi­nese steel prod­ucts, urg­ing the US to show restraint with any trade restric­tion mea­sures.

“Cer­tainly we will protest against un­fair and un­rea­son­able mea­sures launched by some coun­tries such as the US to­ward Chi­nese steel com­pa­nies,” the China Me­tal­lur­gi­cal In­dus­try Plan­ning and Re­search In­sti­tute said in an email to Reuters.

“We will also study and dis­cuss the counter-mea­sures to try to seek a fair po­si­tion for Chi­nese com­pa­nies with­out any vi­o­la­tion of WTO agree­ments.”

The in­sti­tute, which pro­vides con­sul­tancy ser­vices to Chi­nese gov­ern­ment pol­i­cy­mak­ers and steel en­ter­prises, was re­spond­ing to re­cent ef­forts by US steel firms urg­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to curb surg­ing im­ports they say are un­der­min­ing the US in­dus­try.

Trump was to meet with a bi­par­ti­san group of law­mak­ers later on Tues­day to dis­cuss trade mat­ters. The meet­ing comes a month af­ter the Com­merce Depart­ment handed him the re­sults of its probe into steel and alu­minum im­ports, giv­ing him 90 days to re­spond.

The Com­merce Depart­ment has of­fered no in­sight into its con­clu­sions, although the probe could lead to broad tar­iffs or im­port quo­tas.

Trump is con­sid­er­ing ac­tion on both steel and alu­minum un­der the rarely used “Sec­tion 232” of a 1962 US trade law, which al­lows for re­stric­tions to pro­tect na­tional se­cu­rity.

“Trade pro­tec­tion will poi­son the healthy de­vel­op­ment of the steel in­dus­try. Only open­ness and co­op­er­a­tion can ex­pand the com­mon ben­e­fits,” the Chi­nese think tank said in its email.

The US is the world’s big­gest steel im­porter, buy­ing nearly 40 per­cent of ship­ments from Canada, Brazil and South Korea.

But China was not among the top 10 sources of US steel im­ports in Jan­uary-Septem­ber 2017, based on US Com­merce Depart­ment data.

Ex­ports from China, the world’s top steel pro­ducer, to the US reached 1.18 mil­lion tons last year. That’s a frac­tion of the 800 mil­lion tons it makes each year, equal to about half of global out­put.

From a record high of 112.4 mil­lion tons in 2015, China’s to­tal steel ex­ports have dropped to 75.4 mil­lion tons last year.

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