Withdraw tariffs or risk grave global effects: China tells US

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Beijing, March 9 (IANS) China on Friday called on the US to withdraw the new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, warning of a serious impact on international trade.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce warned in a statement that it will take action against the new tariffs announced on Thursday — 25 per cent for steel imports and 10 per cent for aluminium — and will affect all countries that sell them to the US with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico, reports Efe news.

“China urges the US to respect the authority of multilateral trade system and withdraw the measures as soon as possible,” said Wang Hejun, Director-General of the Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau.

Trump defended the new tariffs as aiming to protect the steel and aluminium industry which are vital for national security.

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Wang said that Trump’s argument was unjustified and goes against the trade order of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and reiterated China’s firm opposition to these measures that will have a serious impact on the international level.

The Chinese Iron and Steel Association (CISA) Friday also expressed strong opposition to the new tariffs that violate WTO rules and disturb the international trade order.

“With the excuse of protecting domestic steel industry, the US pursues trade protectionism,” CISA said in a statement cited by Chinese media and it urged Chinese authorities to counter Trump’s measure with tariffs on US imports.

CISA warned that the new US tariffs will hurt the steel industry worldwide, including the US, and particularly consumers of steel products.

Protectionism has been one of Trump’s campaign promises and the imposition of these new tariffs may open a possible trade war with other countries and organisations.

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The US is the largest steel importer in the world and the order could hit China, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Brazil the hardest.

–IANS

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