China says proposed US tariffs on metals groundless, vows to retaliate
China says tariffs proposed by the United States on imported steel and aluminum products are groundless, saying Beijing reserves the right to retaliate if they are imposed.
“If the final decision impacts China’s interests, China will certainly take necessary measures to protect its own rights,” said Wang Hejun, chief of the trade remedy and investigation bureau at China’s Ministry of Commerce, in a statement posted on the bureau's website on Saturday.
His remarks come a day after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended that President Donald Trump impose steep curbs on steel and aluminum imports from China and other countries.
Ross said the US may impose quotas on imports of aluminum and steel, including a tariff of at least 24 percent on steel imports and at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum products from all countries. He said that cheap imports had impaired US national security by making domestic production unviable.
Wang said the US, the world’s biggest steel importer, had been overprotective of its output and further restrictions on national security grounds would be reckless.
“The spectrum of national security is very broad. Without a clear definition, it could easily be abused. If every country followed the US on this, it would have serious ramifications on the international trade order,” Wang said.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry also called on the US to exercise restraint in using trade protection tools, respect the rules of multilateral trade and make a positive contribution to the international economic and trading order.
It further said that China, among other exporters to the United States, had proved its products did not threaten US national security.