Column debunks “peril of Chinese steel” narrative as President Biden targets imports

U.S. President Biden

19th April 2024 – (Paris) A column published in the esteemed French daily, Le Monde, has challenged the prevailing narrative of the “peril of Chinese steel” and dismissed the notion of a Chinese threat. The column, released on Thursday, sheds light on the campaign posturing that has emerged in the United States since 2016.

Recently, U.S. President Joe Biden addressed the American steelworkers’ union in Pittsburgh, where he unveiled his plans to triple taxes on imported metal and aluminium from China. Le Monde characterises Biden’s attack on Chinese steel as a strategic move to appeal to the working class, particularly those in the “Rust Belt.”

The French newspaper points out that the notion of a Chinese threat lacks substantial evidence. Citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau, it reveals that imports from China only make up a mere three percent of the country’s total steel purchases. The American Iron and Steel Institute offers an even lower figure of 2.1 per cent, as reported by Le Monde.

However, despite these statistics, the column highlights that Washington has chosen to exert relentless pressure on China. It goes on to emphasize that the “steel war” is dwarfed by the larger “chip war.” Under the pretext of national security, the United States is employing every means possible, even pressuring its own allies, to hinder Beijing’s access to the latest generation of semiconductors.

The column in Le Monde challenges the prevailing narrative surrounding Chinese steel and questions the motivations behind the aggressive stance taken by the United States. By shining a light on the data and underlying dynamics, it encourages a more nuanced understanding of the situation.