ASEAN opens dialogue with China, US

ASEAN opens dialogue with China, US

Illustration. Flag of member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). (

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - ASEAN member countries open a dialogue with the Government of the People`s Republic of China and the United States regarding issue on iron and steel industry policy imposed by both countries.

The Director General of International Trade Negotiations at the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia, Iman Pambagyo, said Indonesia and ASEAN member countries emphasized the immediate resolution of the issue on cheap iron and steel products from China in ASEAN market.

"Indonesia has reiterated the importance of resolving this issue through a dialogue between associations of ASEAN and China, and the government representatives from both sides," Iman said, in a statement received by ANTARA here on Tuesday.

The Chinese government adopted a policy of setting export duties on low value-added steels, and providing tax rebate reduction for high value-added steels.

However, the policy is suspected to have been abused by Chinese steel exporters by changing the steel HS code. The low value-added carbon steel HS code is allegedly converted to high value-added alloy steel to avoid export taxes.

Such a corruptive trade practice has been under way without strict supervision of the Chinese Government. This has caused loss on domestic steel industry of ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, as they also have difficulties in increasing production capacity.

A concrete solution to this problem is expected to be reached at a meeting between the iron and steel associations of ASEAN and China. The meeting is scheduled to take place on March 30, 2018, in Xian, China and will be attended by representatives from the ASEAN and Chinese governments.

"Indonesia also requested that the Chinese government representatives in the dialogue should be the ones who have authority to provide practical solutions and recommendations to resolve the iron and steel issues," Iman said.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN member countries also highlighted the US policy on tariff increases on the steel and aluminum procurement products which was announced by President Donald Trump on early March 2018.

Indonesia specifically expressed its wish to be included in the excluded group of countries on the policy that has been applied temporarily.

The United States, which always emphasizes fair trade, considers ASEAN an important partner.

The country is committed to have dialogues and enhances cooperation with ASEAN countries, and proposes new areas of cooperation at the upcoming SEOM (Senior Economic Officials Meeting)-US meeting.