China hits back at US steel probe

By Ma Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-28 1:13:01

Industry spokesman claims moves ‘protectionism’

China is "strongly dissatisfied" with an investigation by the US International Trade Commission (USITC) into complaints of price fixing by Chinese steelmakers, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Friday.

"The investigation launched by the US aims to protect its own steel industry amid a weak global economy, " Chen Weidong, a professor at the law school of the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Friday.

Chen's remarks came after an anonymous official from MOFCOM accused the US of disrupting the trade order instead of resolving the problems of the US steel industry on Friday, adding that the remedial measures, including the probe into China's carbon and alloy steel products, are protectionism imposed by the US to shield its industries.

The USITC announced on Thursday that it would investigate a complaint by the US Steel Corporation of Pittsburgh.

The complaint alleged that Chinese steelmakers and distribution subsidiaries export steel products through unfair acts including price fixing, stealing trade secrets and misrepresentations of the origins of their products to the US.

The conflicts between Chinese steel industry and its US counterpart persist, as China's globally competitive steel industry poses a threat to the US steelmakers, Wu Wenzhang, general manager of Shanghai-based consulting firm Steelhome, told the Global Times on Friday.

This is an example of Western countries' protectionist measures against China's steel exports, law professor Chen claimed, adding that to ease the anger sparked domestically, some countries blame their high unemployment on China.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday that cracking down on China's dumping of surplus steel to Europe will be discussed on the summit, following 12 global steel associations sending a letter to urge the Group of Seven (G7) to prevent surplus cheap Chinese steel disrupting world markets.

"However, whether these G7 countries will actually implement the decisions achieved at the summit still remains to be seen," Chen noted.

The crisis in the European steel market should not be blamed on China as only 14 percent of the steel in Europe comes from China, Hua Chunying, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said at a press briefing on Thursday.

"The relatively cheap price of Chinese steel is a result of normal market-oriented adjustment rather than the alleged manipulations of the government and domestic steelmakers," Chen said.

He added that Chinese steel producers should safeguard their legitimate rights.

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