US steel probe violates principles of fair trade: China group

Indo Asian News Service

Beijing, April 27 (IANS) China's steel industry group has voiced concern over the US launching a probe into its steel imports, saying the move sends a signal of protectionism and is against the principles of fair trade, a media report said on Thursday.

The China Iron and Steel Association view came in response to US President Donald Trump's call for launching a trade probe into steel imports on grounds of national security last week, Xinhua news agency reported.

The US President has signed a memo directing his administration to expedite an investigation into whether steel imports are jeopardising US national security.

"China's steel exports to the US are quite limited, which absolutely won't affect the security of the US steel industry," the Chinese association said in a statement, adding that US steel imports mainly came from other countries, not China.

In 2016, China exported 1.17 million tonnes of steel to the US, accounting for only one per cent of China's total exports of the material.

Data from the US showed the country imported 789,000 tonnes of steel from China, accounting for merely 2.6 per cent of the country's imports of the metal.

The statement stressed that both China and the US were facing industrial overcapacity in the global market, and as a major producer, consumer and trader of steel, China had taken solid steps to address the issue.

Likewise, the US should also make efforts to adjust industrial structure and eliminate outdated capacity to promote healthy development in the sector, the statement said.

Tackling overcapacity in bloated sectors such as steel and coal has been high on the Chinese government agenda in recent years. In 2017, China aims to slash steel production capacity by around 50 million tonnes.