WEATHER AUTHORITY : Heat Advisory View Alerts

China warns Trump over potential steel and aluminum tariffs

China is warning President Trump that it will take action if he puts heavy tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum....

Posted: Feb 18, 2018 8:29 AM
Updated: Feb 18, 2018 8:29 AM

China is warning President Trump that it will take action if he puts heavy tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Friday recommended that Trump impose measures against foreign suppliers of the metals in the name of national security, the latest sign of a tougher stance on trade by the administration.

Trump has until mid-April to decide what to do.

"If the United States' final decision affects China's interests, we will take necessary measures to defend our rights," said Wang Hejun, a senior official at China's Commerce Ministry, according to a report Saturday by state-run news agency Xinhua.

The short article didn't provide further details on how Beijing might respond. Ross' recommendations came in the middle of China's Lunar New Year holiday when government offices and businesses largely shut down for a week.

Related: Trump administration recommends steep tariffs on steel and aluminum

Experts have warned that trade tensions are likely to rise this year between the U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies, as Trump decides how to act on a series of investigations his administration launched last year.

He already imposed tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines, which affect businesses in China and many other countries. China and some other big exporters have filed cases with the World Trade Organization over that move.

The fear for some American businesses is that more U.S. trade actions could prompt Beijing to respond with tit-for-tat measures against U.S. companies that rely on its huge market.

Related: Trump-China trade war: Who has the most to lose?

Since Trump's move on solar panels and washing machines, China has announced it is investigating U.S. exports of sorghum, an agricultural product, and imposing measures on styrene, which is used to make plastic products.

If Beijing wanted to really turn up the heat, experts say it could take steps against American exports of soybeans, of which it bought $14 billion worth in 2016, or planes made by Boeing. It could also make life difficult inside China for major U.S. companies like Apple and Intel.

But Chinese leaders are also conscious that any of these moves would also have a knock-on impact on its own economy. Chinese farmers need American soybeans to feed their livestock, and the country's rapidly growing aviation industry is ordering a lot of Boeing jetliners to help meet demand.

China, whose economy has benefited tremendously from its aggressive efforts to take advantage of global commerce, would prefer to avoid an escalating spat with its biggest trading partner.

Related: China: Cheap American grain is hurting our farmers

The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Saturday urged the U.S. to "exercise restraint in using trade protection tools, and observe multilateral rules," according to the Xinhua report.

Wang, who's leads the ministry's trade remedy and investigation bureau, said the findings of the U.S. report on steel and aluminum were "groundless."

Outside experts agree with that to some extent. They said Ross' investigation didn't provide evidence that imported steel is a risk to U.S. national security and warned that his recommendations set a dangerous precedent.

But China has long been criticized by analysts, industry groups and government officials in the U.S. and Europe for dumping cheaply produced steel and aluminum on global markets at rock bottom prices.

Hundreds of U.S. sanctions have helped reduce Chinese steel imports, but they haven't forced China to play by the rules.

China is no longer among the top 10 steel exporters to the U.S., but it has been accused of routing its steel through other countries, such as Vietnam.

-- Patrick Gillespie and Serenitie Wang contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
93° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 103°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 104°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 98°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 96°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather