China and Brazil should work together to address steel sector overcapacity, as protectionism only compounds the situation, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Tuesday, after Brazil launched probes into Chinese steel products.
"The Chinese government has always held that trade remedies should be used in a cautious and restrained manner, and encouraged its businesses to solve trade frictions through trade, investment and technological cooperation with their foreign counterparts," said Wang Hejun, head of the MOC trade remedy and investigation bureau.
Protectionism will do no good in overcoming difficulties in the global economy and steel sector. On the contrary, it will hinder normal trade, Wang said.
The two emerging economies are closely-related in the steel sector as Brazil boasts vast iron ore deposits, and China is the largest steel producer in the world.
Wang's remarks came after Brazil announced Monday its first anti-subsidy investigations into hot rolled steel plate from China. Chinese steel products saw 14 anti-dumping probes from the Brazilian government in the past five years, with most cases ending in restrictive measures.
But Chinese steel accounts for less than two percent of the Brazilian market, according to Wang.
Plagued by excess production, the global steel sector has seen more trade disputes in recent years, with Chinese companies suffering the most.
China is calling for unity in tackling severe overcapacity, and has achieved remarkable progress in downsizing its domestic steel industry.
The country has reduced more than 90 million tonnes of excess capacity during the past five years, and the government plans to slash more by 2020.