To prevent China from pumping cheap—and often subsidized—dirty steels into the global market, the United States will create a new metals alliance with the European Union (EU) amid uncertainty over the next phase of bilateral trade talks, SCMP reported on Nov. 29.

In an op-ed published on Sunday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo focused on cheap Chinese metals flooding global markets, lowering prices for American manufacturers, and causing the loss of 16,000 steel jobs in the U.S. from January 2015 to October 2016.

To handle the issue, the United States will start negotiations with the EU to establish “the world’s first carbon-based sectoral agreement on steel and aluminium trade.”

“The United States produces some of the cleanest steel in the world, while China produces some of the dirtiest,” they said, adding that the U.S. economy and environment had suffered from a deluge of dirty steel from China.

“An excess of subsidised steel and aluminium from China made it impossible for U.S. industries to compete, and American workers paid the price.” 

“And all of us also paid the price because the production of Chinese steel—some of the world’s dirtiest—pumped tons of carbon into the atmosphere.”

Late last month, Brussels and Washington announced a new metals deal that U.S. President Joe Biden said would “restrict access to our markets for dirty steel, from countries like China.” The agreement remarkably combined climate and trade policy while ending a years-long trade dispute over steel and aluminum tariffs, SCMP explained.

As the biggest producer of steel and aluminum worldwide, China has long been blamed for pumping cheap—and often subsidized—metal products into global markets.

But the above criticism by two senior U.S. officials comes at a critical point, with the phase one trade deal set to expire in about one month.

China’s industrial subsidies and the environmental impact of trade are supposed to focus on a potential second phase of trade talks.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s crude steel output in October was 71.58 million tonnes, down 23.3% from a year earlier. The average daily output last month was 2.309 million tonnes, down 6.1% from a month earlier.

Customs data showed that China last month exported 4.497 million tonnes of steel, up 11.3 percent from a year earlier, but down 8.6% from the previous month, after exercising new policies to restrict steel exports earlier this year.

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