Shanghai: China, the world’s largest steel producer and consumer, deepened its investigation into imported steel products from the US, the ministry of commerce said late on Wednesday, in response to complaints from its steel makers.
Trade friction between Beijing and Washington has spilled over into numerous industries this year, with US complaints about China’s state support for exporters of tyres and steel and about China restricting exports of industrial raw materials.
The probe into imports of US grain-oriented electrical steel focuses on six issues, including subsidized electricity, gas and coal and incentives for steel sales and funding in the state of Pennsylvania, the ministry said.
The probe is a further move in an investigation into some imports of US and Russian steel products that first kicked off in June, the ministry said in a statement.
The companies cited in the June case included US Steel and two Russian-owned firms, Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel Mills and TMK IPSCO.
Grain-oriented electrical steel, also known as grain-oriented silicon steel, is used for the cores of high-efficiency transformers, electric motors and generators.
The investigation was prompted by Baosteel Group, the state-owned parent of Baoshan Iron and Steel, and Wuhan Iron and Steel Group, parent of Wuhan Steel, China’s two largest silicon steel producers.
The investigation also reflects Beijing’s worries that shrinking exports and climbing imports will hinder the recovery of its steel industry, which is struggling to break even.