China's economic growth has been slowing down over the last couple of years. The government is reacting with reforms, and 1.8 million steel and coal workers are feeling the effects. Their jobs are becoming more and more superfluous.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping about steel overcapacity and the US threat of tariffs. They are to work on solutions through the G20 group of industrialized nations.
Countries across the world have urged Washington to exempt them from the steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, with the EU warning it would retaliate if hit. Chinese steelmakers urged Beijing to target US coal.
China condemned the tariffs as "a serious attack" on the international trade system, while Japan warned that the tariffs regime could hurt economic relations with the US. Several countries say they should be exempted.
Hours ahead of the signing of trade tariffs on steel imports, President Trump has insisted he doesn't want a trade war. Washington is set to soften the blow of its new penalties with exemptions for certain countries.
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