An employee polishes the surface of steel products at Dongbei Special Steel Group Co Ltd in Dalian, Liaoning province.
The China Iron and Steel Association has urged the Chinese government to take resolute measures against imports of stainless steel, seamless pipes, coal, agricultural products and consumer electronics from the United States to confront trade protectionism.
The Beijing-based association's move came after the U.S. government decided to levy a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imported from a number of countries, including China, earlier this month.
"The U.S. has overprotected its domestic steel industry by implementing trade protectionism measures and disrupting global trade," said CISA Secretary-General Liu Zhenjiang.
"This behavior is not only harmful to the global steel industry, but also seriously damages the interests of steel product consumers, especially those in the U.S.."
Steel has become the sector that has been hardest hit by China-U.S. trade friction. Before the 232 investigation, which determines what imports pose a national security threat, on steel products, a number of anti-dumping and countervailing measures had been taken by the U.S. against more than 10 categories of Chinese steel products.
CISA called on the government to take effective measures when necessary, and resolutely safeguard domestic producers' interests.
The European Commission launched on Monday a safeguard investigation on imports of a number of steel products into the European Union, in response to recent U.S. metal tariff plans.
The Ministry of Commerce said the safeguard action will further aggravate the problems in international trade and have a more serious and damaging impact on the normal international trade order, as the EU investigation concerns products of all origin.
Tian Wen, deputy general manager of Hebei Tianzhu Iron and Steel (Group) Supply Chain Co, a private iron and steel producer, said even if the recently initiated EU investigation leads to tariffs and other measures, it will have a limited influence on China's overall steel industry.
"China only exports a small amount of steel to the EU, and the main clients for most Chinese steel companies are from the domestic market and developing countries and regions," Tian said.
Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based independent think tank, said: "As confrontation only makes the situation intense, both sides must restrain their anger to adequately manage their discrepancies and conflicts in an unbiased manner."