SHANGHAI — China lifted tariffs on steel imports Friday, eliminating restrictions imposed last year amid a trade dispute with Washington.
China imposed three-year tariffs on foreign steel products in November 2002, saying it needed to compensate for steel duties imposed by the United States. President Bush scrapped the 20-month-old U.S. tariffs three weeks ago amid heavy pressure from trading partners.
"In view of current developments in the steel market ... the Ministry of Commerce has decided to discontinue safeguard tariffs on steel imports, effective Dec. 26," the ministry said.
Beijing's lifting of tariffs was expected to hurt Chinese steelmakers, which are struggling to modernize their factories.
"The cancellation of safeguard tariffs may result in an increase in imports and have an adverse impact on local steelmakers," said Yong Zhiqiang, an analyst at Haitong Securities in Shanghai.
Shares of U.S. steel companies climbed on news of the decision, which was widely expected after Bush's move.
Nucor Corp., the largest U.S. steel producer, jumped $1.09 to $56.44, and United States Steel Corp. climbed $1.24 to $35.72, both on the New York Stock Exchange. A Bloomberg News index of 14 steel stocks gained 1.4%.