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Iron and Steel Companies Stay Defiant

Chinese steel companies have urged the government to take retaliatory measures against the reviving global trade protectionism in the industry triggered by controversial United States tariffs on their exports.

"China should react according to the relevant World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and take similar safeguard measures as revenge to protect the domestic steel industry against a flood of imports that are turned away by US, European Union (EU) and Canadian tariffs," said Zhou Shijian, vice-president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Minerals, Metals and Chemical Products (CCCMC).

The United States raised tariffs of 8 percent to 30 percent late last month. China is among the hardest hit after the EU, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Brazil.

Analysts said the tariffs are in danger of triggering a new round of global trade protectionism for the steel industry because the EU and Canada have reacted with similar tariffs to protect their steel industries.

Zhou said the tariffs have had severe effects on China's steel industry since the three trading blocks make up 24 percent of China's total 4.7 million tons of steel exports.

He said the United States should have exempted China from the tariffs because national steel exports to America make up only 2.4 percent of total US imports and because all other developing countries with no more than 3 per cent of US steel imports are exempt from the tax.

In a related development, while speaking on US punitive tariffs on steel imports during his visit in Shanghai yesterday, US Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans said US-China steel trade volume only takes up 0.1 per cent of the total volume of his country.

He said the two sides "should not let the issue blind the tremendous business opportunities between the two countries.

"Both governments should provide companies from the two countries with a level playing field," Evans said at Jiaotong University of Shanghai.

(China Daily April 25, 2002)

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