China investigating steel imports from EU, Japan, S. Korea | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 23.07.2018
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China investigating steel imports from EU, Japan, S. Korea

China has launched an anti-dumping probe into stainless steel products from the EU, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia at a time of growing fears worldwide about escalating trade tensions and their potential fallout.

China opened a trade investigation on Monday into stainless steel products imported from the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia as the metal remains the focus of global trade tensions.  

China's commerce ministry said it will look into whether some stainless steel products from these places are sold at improperly low prices and should be subject to anti-dumping duties. China's probe focuses on stainless steel billet and hot-rolled stainless steel plate, according to a statement from the ministry.

The announcement gave no indication of possible levels of anti-dumping tariffs.

Read more:  WTO: Weary Trade Organization?

The initial complaint in China was filed by Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel, with support from five other manufacturers including a subsidiary of industry giant Baosteel.

China imported 703,105 tons of such products in 2017 — up 189 percent from the previous year — 98 percent of which came from the regions targeted by the probe, Shanxi Taigang said in its complaint.

"China's domestic industries that produce the same products have suffered substantial damage and threats of substantial damage," the complaint said. It blamed "massive importing and dumping" for having an "obvious negative impact" on the price of domestic products.

China is by far the world's biggest steel producer with more than 831 million tons in 2017. Shanxi Taigang accounted for 25 to 35 percent of the country's total stainless steel production in 2017.

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Threat to world trade

Beijing on Monday became the latest government to take action on the issue. The announcement comes after Washington's decision this spring to slap steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from major producers, including China, citing concerns that a glut of the metals was hurting US industry and threatening national security.

US President Donald Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs on imports from China worth hundreds of billions of dollars, accusing Beijing of not ensuring a level playing field for foreign and domestic companies on its market as well as stealing intellectual property.

But China's foreign ministry reiterated on Monday that threats and intimidation on trade will never work on China.

Still, China's latest move could complicate its efforts to join forces with the EU, Japan and other major economies around the world to present a united front against Trump's "America First" policies.

sri/tr (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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