TOKYO (Reuters) - Protectionism poses severe challenges to the world economic order and steel trade, the head of China’s second-biggest steelmaker HBIS Group said on Wednesday, calling for more openness and win-win cooperation to build a new order in global markets.
“Economic globalization has become an irreversible trend,” Yu Yong, HBIS Group chairman, said in a keynote speech at the World Steel Association’s general assembly in Tokyo.
“Facing the increasingly complicated international trading environment, we realize how important free trade and rule-based order is,” he said.
His comments come as the United States and China have engaged in a tit-for-tat tariff war since early this year, covering hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods traded between the world’s two largest economies.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration imposed tariffs on steel imports from most countries in March, and on the European Union in June.
Excessive trade protection is protecting poor companies and preventing high-cost and less-competitive players from being phased out by market forces, which hinder the progressive transformation and competitiveness of the steel industry, Yu said.
“I firmly believe opening up and win-win cooperation will lead us to common prosperity of the world economy and a healthy development of the global steel industry,” he said,
“I appeal that all the steel associations worldwide ... make joint efforts to safeguard global free trade system.”
Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier