China Promises To Drastically Cut Steel As Trump Threatens To Unleash New Tariffs On Foreign Imports

China announced at the National People’s Congress Monday that it will significantly cut steel production in the year ahead.

President Donald Trump has said that he will place a tariff of 25 percent on foreign-made steel and 10 percent on aluminum, triggering strong criticism at home and abroad, including in China.

Beijing claims that it cut 170 million metric tons of steel production over the last five years, and China plans to further cut steel production by 30 million metric tons this year, according to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Li noted a “sharp rise in protectionism globally,” arguing, “Protectionism is mounting and geopolitical risks are on the ascent. China calls for trade disputes to be settled through discussion as equals, opposes trade protectionism, and will resolutely safeguard its lawful rights.” The premier did not, however, comment directly on Trump’s trade moves.

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It is unclear whether China intends to live up to its promises to reduce steel production.

Despite China’s “repeated promises to cut production in industries like steel, aluminum, and coal, reforms have taken a backseat to policies aimed at maintaining employment and economic growth,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission revealed in its 2016 report to Congress.

Concerns about overcapacity were presented in the 2017 report as well.

China has sharply criticized the proposed tariffs Trump announced last week, arguing that China “will take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.” Senior Trump administration trade officials argue that the tariffs “have nothing to do with China.”

“China really is the bad actor of the world on trade, let’s make no mistake about that,” Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro said Monday on WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall.” But, “this has nothing to do with China directly or indirectly.”

The tariffs are actually expected to hit other countries harder, as the U.S. has already taken action to target Chinese dumping.

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