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US Trade Representative Defends Steel Tariffs

US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick started a visit to China on Tuesday and made a speech to Chinese students to defend US trade policy.

Zoellick first defended the new American tariffs on steel imports, saying the world's trading partners have to discuss how to remedy problems in the industry.

"If there's any market in the world that needs some negotiations on overcapacity and on dealing with unfair practices, it's the steel market," Zoellick told students at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing.

Zoellick is on an Asian trip to promote free trade that also has taken him to Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. On Monday, he met with Vice Premier Wen Jiabao.

The steel tariff by the US has drawn worldwide concern. China joined Japan, South Korea and the European Union in protesting the tariffs of up to 30 percent that took effect on March 5. Beijing has demanded compensation for damage to its steel industry.

Earlier Tuesday, Zoellick met with economic officials for what he said was the goal of his trip - to learn about Chinese trade policy and share information on promoting free trade.

Zoellick said Washington was eager to work with Beijing to help open China's economy further to the world market.

(People's Daily April 10, 2002)

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