China will take effective measures to firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests after the US announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce official said on Friday.
US President Donald Trump signed two proclamations on Thursday (US time), imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum products from all countries except Canada and Mexico.
The US is using national security as an excuse to implement trade protectionism, said Wang Hejun, head of the ministry's trade remedy and investigation bureau.
Most of the US steel and aluminum imports are commercial products, far from being harmful to US national security, Wang was quoted as saying in a statement on the ministry's website.
"Abusively invoking national security destroys multilateral trade systems represented by the WTO and will have a huge impact on the international trade order. Thus, China firmly opposes the US move," he said.
Wang pointed out that China has noticed that many WTO members, including the EU, Brazil, South Korea and Russia, have expressed their opposition to the US and announced they would take countermeasures for the wrongdoing. China has expressed its stance and concerns, and has lodged serious representations with the US, he said.
Wang stressed that the US move would not only harm other countries' interests but also does not conform to its own interests, as reflected by strong disagreement from US legislators, industry organizations and corporations.
China sincerely urges the US to respect the authority of multilateral trade systems and to annul the move as soon as possible.
Both the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) and China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA) expressed their strong opposition on Friday.
The CISA said that "this move will harm the global steel industry, and seriously hurt consumers' interests, especially US consumers."
Meanwhile, the nonferrous metals association called for retaliatory measures on scrap aluminum, coal, agricultural products from the US.