China grumbles at Trump’s tariff moves but isn’t expected to start a trade war over them

China is the world’s dominant steel producer, but experts said the impact of Trump’s decision to slap 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, and 10 percent on aluminum, won’t have a big impact on China since it only accounts for 2 percent of U.S. imports. The government in Beijing is not about to start a trade war over the tariffs, they added.

“What an extremely stupid move,” said Li Xinchuang, vice secretary general of the China Iron and Steel Association. “A desperate attempt by Trump to pander to his voters, which I think in fact runs counter to his ‘America First’ pledge. The U.S. is now setting a very, very bad example.”

Li, who is also director of the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute, said the decision would only make U.S. industries fall further behind globally, at a time when “China is in its prime.”