Last week I commented on the consequences of steel tariffs and whether the WTO would accept the "defence out" around excluding such tariffs from NATO Countries. However, if the US shuts its market to Chinese steel, the question is: where will China look to export to?
The European steel industry had had somewhat of a renaissance in recent times and in the UK Tata, Greybull Capital and Liberty House are restructuring the old British Steel.
If the Chinese look to Europe to sell their steel, and Europe reacts, the possibility of a real 'tit for tat' trade war looms.
It is vital this does not get out of mind.
All the hard work to reduce tariffs in the Dubai trade round, which partially failed but did set a tone towards free trade, will be put at risk.
The UK prides itself as a post-Brexit 19th century Benthamian free trade country and the Chinese hold themselves out as the new bastions of free trade.
Will Trump-led protectionism in a core industry like steel put paid to this?
Steel, unlike other industries, can't simply be stopped and started as demand increases and decreases. The effects in Redcar in the UK have shown this to be the case but at the same time protectionism has dangerous, often unforeseen, consequences.
A political desire to start free trade talks through the WTO must be reignited.
EU ready with 'nuclear option' tough tariffs if US sparks trade war over steel