China does not want and is not starting a trade war with the United States, Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said on Sunday.
“There is no winner in a trade war. What a trade war brings to China and the United States and world economy is nothing but disasters,” Zhong said during a press conference for the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) taking place in Beijing.
On Thursday, United States President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tariff on aluminium. However, after pressure from different US allies, trump exempted Canada and Mexico and opened the way for more exemptions from tariffs for other countries as well.
In retaliation, within hours after Trump announced his protectionist move in a tweet, the European Commission threatened to impose tariffs on everything American from bourbon to Harley-Davidson motorbikes.
The US is the world’s biggest steel importer, importing around 35m tonnes in 2017, of which 6.6m tonnes came from Asian countries: South Korea, Japan, China, and India.
On Saturday, the subsidy and safeguard department of the Egyptian Ministry of Industry will hold intensive meetings to discuss the implications of Trump’s tariff on Egyptian steel.
Government sources told Daily News Egypt that there was no suspicion of dumping around Egyptian steel exports to the US market and that future meetings would discuss the impact of the decision on Egyptian exports.
In a meeting with the Federation of Egyptian Industries, Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil downplayed the importance of the tariff, explaining that steel exports represent no more than 6% of Egypt’s total non-oil exports, with the US market absorbing no more than 3% of Egypt’s steel exports.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, trade between Egypt and the United States reached $5.6b in 2017, compared to $4.9bn in 2016, an increase of 13%.
Egypt’s steel exports last December rose by 10% to record $81m from $73m in the same period in 2016. Egypt’s steel exports to the US market rose to $11.5m in 2017, up from to $2.3m in 2016.