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China hit by record retaliatory measures

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BEIJING: China was hit with a record number of retaliatory trade measures last year, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday, with countries around the world claiming it had flooded global markets with cheap steel and other products.

"Trade disputes are becoming increasingly politicised, measures are increasingly extreme and final tariff rates are relatively high," said ministry spokesman Sun Jiwen at a regular briefing, singling out measures taken against China's steel, solar panel, ceramics and tyre industries.

Chinese policymakers are wary of Mr Donald Trump's protectionist stance on global trade, as he has promised a hard line against China - threatening to raise tariffs on its exports to the US once he takes office on Jan 20.

Mr Sun said that last year, 27 countries took out 119 trade remedies against China, with the relevant cases totalling US$14.3 billion (S$20.7 billion), up 76 per cent from the previous year.

Twenty-one countries and regions took 49 remedies against Chinese steel, costing $7.9 billion, up 63.1 per cent from 2015.

Trade remedies are trade policy tools that allow governments to take remedial action against imports which are hurting domestic industries.

They include anti-dumping actions, countervailing duties and emergency measures to safeguard industries. - REUTERS