World Economy

China Accuses US of Harming Global Steel Trade

China Accuses US of Harming Global Steel Trade
China Accuses US of Harming Global Steel Trade

China could file suit at the World Trade Organization in order to protect its steel industry, the commerce ministry said on Tuesday, after the United States said some steel imports from China were hitting US producers.

The US International Trade Commission said on Friday that imports of corrosion-resistant steel from China and four other countries were harming US producers, the final step in the imposition of US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, Reuters reported.

The US Commerce Department had already slapped duties of up to 450% on the steel products from China and duties ranging from 3% to 92% on corrosion-resistant steel from Italy, India, South Korea and Taiwan.

The ministry said Washington's large anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties would force Chinese companies to pull this type of steel product out of the US market.

"China's steel industry export interests will suffer a serious impact and the Chinese steel industry is strongly opposed to this," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

"With regard to the United States' mistaken methods that violate WTO rules, China is and will continue to take all measures, including filing suit at the WTO, to strive for fair treatment for enterprises and safeguard their export interests," it said.

Steel mills in China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of the metal, have raised production and beefed up exports despite the government's efforts to cut overcapacity. This has escalated trade spats between China and other steel producing nations, such as Japan, India and the United States.

The commerce ministry has said that it is deeply concerned about protectionism in the US steel sector. It argues that the difficulties facing the global steel sector have resulted from falling demand, and that trade protectionism from the US will intensify conflicts and disputes.

US Breaching Rules

China's Hebei Iron & Steel Group, its biggest steelmaker by output, accused the United States recently of breaching WTO rules and said US protectionism is damaging the world steel trade.

The US International Trade Commission last month launched a probe into Chinese steel mills accused by United States Steel Corp of stealing its secrets and conspiring to fix prices.

"The protectionist behavior taken by the US based on purely groundless accusations by US Steel has seriously broken the WTO rules, distorted the normal world steel trade and damaged the essential interests of Chinese steel mills and US steel users," the statement published on the company's website said.

Hebei Iron & Steel said it would appeal the probe, without saying to whom, and called on the Chinese government to take measures in line with WTO rules to maintain the legal interests of Chinese steel mills.