BEIJING – China warned on Saturday that it would take all necessary steps to protect its interests and safeguard domestic industry if the United States were to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
“If the United States’ final decision affects China’s interests, we will take the necessary measures to defend our rights,” said the head of the Ministry of Commerce’s trade remedy and investigation bureau, Wang Hejun, as reported by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
The US Department of Commerce concluded on Friday that the recent increase in imports of these metals poses a risk to national security as it threatens the viability of American industry.
For this reason, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross proposed to US President Donald Trump a variety of measures to choose from, including the imposition of a tariff of 24 percent in addition to those existing on all importing countries or 53 percent on a group of 12 countries, including China.
Wang called these recommendations unjustified, saying that the US has already overprotected national industry and must not recklessly impose more restrictions on imports.
He added that, with international economic recovery still being unstable, the US administration should act in moderation when taking trade protection measures and instead observe multilateral rules to make positive contributions to the global economic and commercial order.
Trump ran for the White House on a protectionist trade agenda, in which one of his main pillars was the defense of the American metal industry against Chinese imports.