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China urges US to exercise restraint on steel trade actions

Pittsburgh — China's Ministry of Commerce has urged the US to exercise restraint in using trade restrictions on steel imports ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and US lawmakers to discuss trade issues.

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According to the president's public schedule, Trump is set to meet with lawmakers Tuesday to discuss trade, including the Department of Commerce's Section 232 probes on imports of steel and aluminum.

Commerce on Tuesday also announced the launch of an antidumping and countervailing duty investigation into imports of large-diameter welded line pipe from six countries, including China.

"Although initiating a trade remedy investigation is a [World Trade Organization] member's right, the frequent and excessive protection of domestic industries does not bring about the intended purpose of trade remedies and often leads to a vicious cycle," Wang Hejun, director of the Bureau of Trade Relief Investigation of the Ministry of Commerce, said in a statement.

China is worried about the "serious tendency of US protectionism in the field of steel products," he said.

According to US statistics, as of January 2018, 222 of the existing US trade remedies in force are for steel products, accounting for more than 50% of all trade remedy measures in the US and covering almost all imported steel products, Wang's statement continues.

The current foundation of international economic recovery is still very fragile and requires the joint efforts and actions of all countries, Wang said.

"China urges the United States to exercise restraint in using trade restrictions and abiding by the multilateral trading rules with all parties so as to give a positive impetus to the development of world economy," he said.

--Justine Coyne, justine.coyne@spglobal.com
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, alisdair.bowles@spglobal.com