Caixin
Feb 19, 2018 11:29 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

China Calls U.S. Proposal on Steel, Aluminum Tariffs 'Baseless'

The U.S. Commerce Department is seeking to impose quotas or taxes on Chinese steel and aluminum imports, in part for
The U.S. Commerce Department is seeking to impose quotas or taxes on Chinese steel and aluminum imports, in part for "national security" reasons

The latest U.S. Commerce Department recommendations to raise tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports are “baseless” and “totally inconsistent with the facts,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said.

Director of the ministry's Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau, Wang Hejun, urged the U.S. to show restraint and comply with “multilateral trade regulations” in a statement published Saturday (Beijing time).

Wang’s remarks come in response to a report on imports on steel and aluminum products by the U.S. Commerce Department Friday, which recommended implementing either a quota on each country’s steel imports, a tariff of at least 24% on steel imports from all countries, or a tariff of at least 53% on imports from 12 countries, including China.

The Department of Commerce also suggested either a similar quota system for aluminum, or a 7.7% tariff on aluminum entering the U.S. from all countries, or a 23.6% tariff on imports from five countries and territories, including China and Hong Kong.

Chinese steel and aluminum makers, a group that includes some of the world’s largest producers of both metals, stand to bear the brunt of new tariffs if the U.S. decides to impose them. If the U.S. eventually takes action that harms China’s interests, China will “take the necessary measures to protect its legitimate rights,” Wang warned.

U.S. President Donald Trump must decide on the Commerce Department’s recommendations by mid-April.

The U.S. currently has 29 antidumping and countervailing duty orders placed against Chinese steel imports, according to Friday’s Commerce Department report, which found that the “quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports ‘threaten to impair the national security’” of the U.S.

In response, Wang said that sluggish global economic recovery and slow growth in demand in recent years were the main causes of the difficulties faced by steel and aluminum industries in many countries today. Countries “should not take a beggar-thy-neighbor approach by unilaterally imposing trade restrictions,” Wang said.

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)


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