SHANGHAI — China’s steel and metals associations called on Friday for the government to retaliate against the United States for slapping hefty tariffs on aluminum and steel imports in the strongest response yet from the sector in an escalating trade dispute.
Companies in the world’s top producer of both metals “strongly oppose” the duties, the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) and China China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said in separate statements on Friday.
U.S. President Donald Trump pressed ahead with the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminum on Thursday.
“The China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) appeals for the Chinese government to take resolute measures against imports of some U.S. products including stainless steel, galvanized sheet, seamless pipe, coal, agriculture products and electronic products,” the industry body said in a statement on its website.
“Trump’s behavior is a challenge to the global steel industry and will definitely encounter opposition from more countries,” CISA added.
China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association also made similar strong comments, urging Beijing to take action on imports of coal, aluminum scrap, agriculture products and high-end consumer products.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said China would assess any damage caused by the U.S. move and “firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests. It urged the United States to withdraw the measures as quickly as possible.
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Trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies have risen since Trump took office. China accounts for only a small fraction of U.S. steel imports, but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Ruby Lian; editing by Richard Pullin)