China-US Trade Tensions: Chinese steel maker appeals unfair tariffs
Updated 20:45, 14-Oct-2018
Higher tariffs are no match for at least one Chinese company. Tiangong International, a steel company based in East China's Jiangsu province has a history of winning overseas legal battles. And their most recent victory has them avoiding higher costs when it comes to their exports to the US market. CGTN's Wang Mengzhen shows us the secret of their success.
It's part of the daily grind for workers at Tiangong International. Casting special steel every day keeps Tiangong an industry leader. Despite ongoing global trade tensions, not many here seem concerned. One reason: managers here appealed unfair tariffs at the international stage. Recently, the US Department of Commerce amended results of the so-called section 232 investigation largely cutting the countervailing duty imposed on Tiangong, from 251 percent to just 24 percent. 
XU SHAOQI, DIRECTOR LEGAL AFFAIRS, TIANGONG INTERNATIONAL "Under the complex US trade system, we found out the commerce department has an expedited review program. Tiangong was qualified and then we applied for the review last April. As far as I know, we are the only Chinese steel company to use this program."
Behind that: 17 months of dedication by Xu and his team—talking to dozens of legal experts from both China and the US.
And it's not the first victory for Tiangong. In 2016, the company won an appeal against the European Union's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, saving itself from proposed tariffs then. And just last month, Tiangong attended an EU hearing on safety measures for imported steel products as the only representative for Chinese steel companies. But Chairman of the board Zhu Xiaokun says the key strength is not just its powerful legal team.
ZHU XIAOKUN, CHAIRMAN TIANGONG INTERNATIONAL "As a private firm, we don't have any subsidies from the government. Our development totally depends on the continuous innovation of our products. So, we let our products speak for themselves."
Zhu says it's the craftsmanship that has helped Tiangong gradually turn itself into a high-tech enterprise.
ZHU XIAOKUN, CHAIRMAN TIANGONG INTERNATIONAL "When the Trump administration first imposed 25% tariffs on imported steel in March, we reached an agreement with our American clients that each party would share half of the additional costs in the first two months. But after that, our clients no longer asked us to share the burden because our products are much needed in the US steel industry."
Because of America's protectionist measures, steel exports from the Chinese mainland to the US have slumped over the past decade. Now Chinese steel accounts for less than 2 percent of US's total steel imports.
WANG MENGZHEN DANYANG "But ironically, many players in American steel industry failed to benefit from that due to the rising cost. Analysts say the best solution now is to go back to the negotiation table and hammer out an agreement that can benefit both sides. Wang Mengzhen, CGTN, Danyang, Jiangsu province."