China questions legitimacy of EU ruling on hot-rolled steel

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-09 22:18:43|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- China strongly questions the legitimacy of the European Commission's (EC) anti-subsidy ruling on Chinese hot-rolled steel coil products, and will take measures to protect domestic firms, an official said Friday.

The EC on Friday made the final ruling that Chinese hot-rolled steel producers had received subsidies ranging from 4.6 percent to 38.6 percent.

The EC is "still wearing colored glasses," as it ignored progress in financial reform and market-based interest rates, said Wang Hejun, head of the Ministry of Commerce trade remedy and investigation bureau.

Ignoring the fact that all financial institutions are independent market entities, the commission continued to take state-owned Chinese banks as public institutions and mistook bank loans to all involved companies as preferential lending, Wang said.

"It even disregarded basic financial facts by mistaking some bank loans directly as bestowal, inflating the subsidy range and seriously infringing the rights of Chinese companies," he added.

The EC also failed to see the apparent decline in Chinese steel exports to Europe in 2016, and asserted Chinese products caused threat to EU industry based on speculation and remote possibilities, Wang said.

The fundamental reason for the weak performance and overcapacity in world steel industry was flagging demand due to a weak global economy after the international financial crisis, Wang said.

China did not offer any subsidy on steel exports, but has taken a series of measures to contain exports and cut excess capacity. "It is neither objective nor just to ascribe the EU industry's difficulties to China," Wang said.

The ultimate solution to steel issues lies in joint efforts from all countries to steer world economy onto a path of steady growth, whereas "groundless accusations and imprudent trade remedy measures" help no one, Wang said.

"China is willing to strengthen communication with the European side to resolve the current problem," he said.

Hot-rolled coil is widely used in construction and machinery.