Representatives of the government of the People’s Republic of China responded to United States President Donald Trump’s comments earlier this week regarding possible trade sanctions levied upon imported aluminium and steel, saying on Wednesday that negotiating a solution is the better option.
Pointing out that the trading relationship between the two economic juggernauts is “mutually beneficial,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang posited that the two countries’ governments should “spare no effort to avoid negative impacts” upon the continuing global economic recovery.
Trump said in a meeting with 15 Republicans and 9 Democrats on Tuesday that he is “considering all options” when crafting a response to the Section 232 investigation, citing national security concerns over imported aluminium and its impact upon domestic producers.
Geng called upon the United States government to shy away from punitive and protectionist measures, asking instead that the two countries negotiate an equitable solution to the situation.
“We should see these differences in a reasonable and objective manner and properly handle and manage them through dialogue and consultation following the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.”
It seems unlikely that Trump will heed Beijing’s counsel on the issue, however. Opining that the U.S. aluminum and steel industries are “being decimated by dumping,” Trump worried that, should the U.S. find itself militarily involved with a metals supplier, “we don’t want to be buying steel from a country that we’re fighting.”
Trump’s administration initiated the Section 232 investigation only months after he assumed the Oval Office last January. The Commerce Department delivered its findings in mid-January, citing low-cost aluminium imports from China as working a material harm to the domestic specialty aluminium sector.
President Trump has until the middle of April to decide upon what, if any, action the government will take based upon the Commerce Department’s findings.