China calls for US to withdraw trade tariffs on steel, aluminium


A Chinese employee at a steel plant in Zouping, China. China's Ministry of Commerce said the country would assess any damage caused by the US move and "firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests".
A Chinese employee at a steel plant in Zouping, China. China's Ministry of Commerce said the country would assess any damage caused by the US move and "firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests".PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's commerce ministry said on Friday (March 9) that it "resolutely opposed" a move by US President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and called for the United States to withdraw the measures as quickly as possible.

On Thursday, Trump pressed ahead with import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent for aluminium but exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies, backtracking from an earlier "no-exceptions" stance.

China's Ministry of Commerce said China would assess any damage caused by the US move and "firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests". It added that the tariffs would"seriously impact the normal order of international trade".

Trade tensions between China and United States have risen since Trump took office. China accounts for a small fraction of US steel imports, but its huge industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.

China’s steel and metals associations called on Friday for the government to retaliate against the United States for slapping the tariffs, in the strongest response yet from the sector in an escalating trade dispute.

Companies in the world’s top producer of both metals “strongly oppose” the duties, the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) and China China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said in separate statements on Friday.

“The China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) appeals for the Chinese government to take resolute measures against imports of some U.S. products including stainless steel, galvanized sheet, seamless pipe, coal, agriculture products and electronic products,” the industry body said in a statement on its website.

“Trump’s behavior is a challenge to the global steel industry and will definitely encounter opposition from more countries,” CISA added.

China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association also made similar strong comments, urging Beijing to take action on imports of coal, aluminium scrap, agriculture products and high-end consumer products.