Chinese steelmakers hit out at US tariff hike

Jessica Morris
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The US will impose duties of more than 500 per cent on imports Chinese cold-rolled steel (Source: Getty)
hinese steelmakers hit out at the US' decision to slap imports of their products with a five-fold tax hike, marking an increase in the ongoing trade war.

Asked if China will appeal the US anti-dumping duties at the World Trade Organisation, Liu Zhenjiang, secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association told Reuters: "There's too much trade friction and it's not good for the market".

Read more: Market economy status for China could kill Britain's steel industry

China yesterday vowed to push ahead with a controversial tax rebate for its steel sector which is undergoing a painful restructuring, after the US Commerce Department said it would impose anti-subsidy duties of more than 500 per cent on imports of Chinese cold-rolled steel.

Asked whether this marks the escalation of a trade war, Gareth Stace, director of Steel UK, said: "Yes. But what's the alternative?"

Earlier this week, Japan's biggest steelmaker, Nippon, called on the group of seven (G7) nations to help China cut its excess steel capacity, rather than criticising it for the global oversupply which has sent prices tumbling.

"Criticising China alone will invite their opposition. Europe, the US and Japan should offer their experience of cutting capacity in the past to make it easier for China to tackle the problems," Toshiharu Sakae, Nippon Steel's executive vice-president, told Reuters on Monday.

Read more: EU launches investigation into Chinese steel exports

China has ramped up exports of steel in recent years, as it tries to move towards services-led growth and away from traditional manufacturing, simultaneously avoiding mass job losses.

However, this has led to accusations of steel-dumping in markets such as Europe, where producers are already hobbled by high energy costs as well as so-called green environmental taxes.

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