November 22, 2002

US Defends Steel Tariffs in China

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 tariffs 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.

Also Tuesday, the EU's head office urged member governments to maintain their united opposition to the US tariffs and not to seek a separate deal for their own products.

"We would expect every member state ... to continue to fully support the strategy which we have been actively pursuing vis-a-vis the Americans," said Anthony Gooch, trade spokesman at the European Commission.

Gooch was responding to a report in London's Financial Times newspaper that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had used talks last weekend with US President Bush to seek an exemption for British steel products.

Gooch said he had no knowledge that the British had had substantive talks with the Americans on the issue and underlined that London has been "foursquare behind the European strategy."

(China Daily April 10, 2002)

In This Series
China Demands Exemption From US Steel Tariffs

US Steel Tariff Move May Cause Chain Reaction - Experts

Sino-US Steel Tariffs Talks to Start This Week

China May Appeal to WTO over U.S. Steel Tariffs: Minister

China Condemns US Steel Tariffs

World Blasts US Steel Tariffs, Threatens Reprisals


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