(Yicai Global) March 27 -- China hopes that the EU adopts a prudent approach toward safeguard measures on steel product imports, the country's commerce ministry said.
China will assess the impact of the US and European measures on China, and take corresponding measures when necessary to firmly safeguard the interests of Chinese companies, said Wang Hejun, director of the commerce ministry's trade bureau, in response to the EU's announcement of a probe into imported steel products.
The European Commission's safeguard measures will involve steel products exported to the trade bloc from all over the world, but the launch of the investigation does not mean that it will eventually take concrete measures, it said in a statement. If the investigation proves that it is necessary to take action, the EU may impose import tariffs or implement quotas to protect EU steel producers from "overly-import" effects.
The EC probe concerns 27 steel product categories and will, in principle, be completed within nine months. If the results show that it is necessary to take temporary protective measures, the EU will act as soon as possible. At the same time, the EC will also review further market conditions and make preparations accordingly.
Safeguards are a trade defense tool recognized by the World Trade Organization and the EU's investigation procedures will strictly follow multilateral rules, it said.
China understands the necessary actions that the EU is taking in response to US tariff measures on imported steel and aluminum products, though the adoption of global safeguards is not the right choice, Wang said, adding that it will further aggravate the chaos and panic in the international trade order caused by the US measures, Wang said.
Wang pointed out that the EU, as an important member of the WTO and an important force in the global trading system, should strengthen cooperation with all its members, jointly oppose trade protectionism, and should not take actions that undermine the global trade order. China is willing to strengthen communication and cooperation with all parties, including the European Union, to jointly cope with the confusion caused by the US measures on the global steel and aluminum trade, he added.