Beijing: China today denounced US tariffs on aluminium and steel imports, saying that they would profoundly harm the international trade environment. The US’s “abuse” of national security concerns as a reason for implementing the measures will lead to “a serious attack on normal international trade order”, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its web site, adding that “China is firmly opposed.”
US President Donald Trump officially implemented the measures on Thursday, leaning on a little-used and decades-old national security clause in US trade law. Trump said the tariffs — which will come into effect after 15 days — will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico, and that close partners on security and trade could negotiate exemptions.
The tariffs, worth billions of dollars, sparked immediate protests from top trading partners the European Union and Brazil, with retaliatory action expected from China and other economic powers. The US buys only 2.7 per cent of its steel from the world’s second largest economy, not even cracking the top ten list of foreign suppliers.
Canada, America’s neighbour to the north, was its single-largest source of steel last year, followed by Brazil, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, Japan and Germany. Canada was also by far the largest supplier of alumina and aluminium, followed by China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.