China's foreign minister slams Trump tariffs: Report

A Chinese worker is dwarfed by huge rolls of steel in a transhipment yard in Shenyang, China, on April 16, 2008.
A Chinese worker is dwarfed by huge rolls of steel in a transhipment yard in Shenyang, China, on April 16, 2008.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (AFP) - China's foreign minister tore into the new steel and aluminium tariffs announced by US President Trump, calling them "groundless" in remarks to state media on Saturday (March 3).

"The American action to put sanctions on other countries' reasonable steel and aluminium exports in the name of harming national security is groundless," minister Wang Yi said.

He made the comments in an interview with China Business Journal on the sidelines of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a top advisory body opening its annual national session in Beijing over the weekend.

"It's not only China that believes this to be unreasonable, many European countries and Canada have all said they cannot accept this." Trump announced on Thursday his decision to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, inciting a worldwide uproar and stoking fears of a global trade war.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday the EU was drawing up retaliatory measures including tariffs on imports of American goods like Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and blue jeans, if the Trump administration moves forward with its plan.

China has previously warned it was ready with counter-measures should the Trump administration deploy tariffs, but the country has yet to make any specific moves after the latest trade volley.

Steel and aluminium each account for less than one per cent of China's total exports to the United States.