China urges U.S. restraint on steel imports

President Donald Trump   Alex Wong  Getty Images

President Donald Trump Alex Wong Getty Images

On Tuesday, the President of the United States Donald Trump said that he had made considerations of a wide range of options to address the thorny issues of aluminum and steel imports that he claimed were hurting American producers unfairly including quotas and tariffs.

"I get the strong sense that this will be a big element of China's strategy if a trade war really does take place - hitting United States agricultural exports... in pro-Republican, pro-Trump constituencies before mid-terms, hoping that the Trump administration steps back".

But Trump also said he "wants to hear from both sides before making a trade decision".

At least seven Republican lawmakers at the White House meeting Tuesday urged Trump to be cautious about taking any action that could set off a trade war with China or other countries.

China produces around half of the world's steel and is accused of flooding the market to keep the economic wheels turning at home.

For decades Chinese leaders have been consumed with the need to - as former president Hu Jintao once put it - create "25 million jobs a year". He pointed out that he had come across empty steel mills during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's protectionist, nationalist message appealed to voters in the US" "Rust Belt', areas of high unemployment and poverty caused by the decline of traditional manufacturing industries.

Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, added: "You would end up with net job losses", noting US industrial dependence on steel.

"I think we do need to be careful here that we don't start a reciprocal battle on tariffs", Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican told Trump.

"You know, we make aluminum and we make steel", he said.

During the meeting, he reiterated complaints he's made in the past about trade imbalances with Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea.

"Despite the rhetoric, Trump doesn't want to subvert "his" economy", Ikenson wrote this week.

At the same time, some Democrats from states Trump carried - and the more populist voters who propelled him into office - are pushing for actions that resemble the president's trade threats.

Relations with South Korea are also strained, mainly due to Mr Trump's sabre-rattling over North Korea's nuclear program.

Trump also repeated his suggestion that the U.S. may withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement if its demands are not met in ongoing renegotiations.

The Trump administration initiated talks to renegotiate the United States-Korea (KORUS) trade agreement in July a year ago, arguing it was lopsided because American's bilateral trade deficit had ballooned under it.

"So we're going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax", Trump said.

The largest sorghum producers in the USA in terms of acreage are Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

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