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WRAPUP 1-China, Japan, South Korea bristle over U.S. steel, aluminum tariffs


TOKYO March 9 (Reuters) - Major Asian nations reacted
sharply to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose
tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on Friday, warning of
damage to close relations amid industry calls for retaliation.

Japan said the move would have a "big impact" on the
countries' close bilateral ties, while China said it was
"resolutely opposed" to the decision and South Korea said it may
file a complaint to the World Trade Organization.

Trump on Thursday pressed ahead with the imposition of 25
percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminium on
Thursday, though he announced exemptions for Canada and Mexico,
and said exceptions could also be made for other allies.

China, which produces half the world's steel, will assess
any damage caused by the U.S. move and "firmly defend its
legitimate rights and interests," the country's Ministry of
Commerce said.

The tariffs would "seriously impact the normal order of
international trade," China's commerce ministry said.

Trade tensions between China and United States have risen
since Trump took office. China accounts for only a small
fraction of U.S. steel imports, but its massive industrial
expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has
driven down prices.

China's steel and metals associations urged the government
to retaliate against the United States, citing imports ranging
from stainless steel to coal, agricultural products and

"The cost of a trade war will be tremendous and it will make
everyone unhappy," Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko
Securities in Tokyo, said in a report on Friday.

Trump's declaration coincided with the signing by 11
countries of a new Trans-Pacific trade pact that the United
States withdrew from last year.

South Korea and Australia both said they would seek

The European Union, Brazil and Argentina said overnight they
should not be targeted or would seek exemptions.

Shares in China's steel and aluminium makers fell on Friday
morning. Baoshan Iron & Steel was down around 3
percent, while Hesteel and Beijing Shougang
were down less than 1 percent.

In South Korea, shares in Posco were down more
than 2 percent, while in Tokyo Japan's biggest steelmaker Nippon
Steel & Sumitomo Metal was up slightly.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Wang Jing in SHANGHAI, Yuka
Obayashi, Kaori Kaneko and Ami Miyazaki in TOKYO, Ju-Min Park in
SEOUL; writing by Aaron Sheldrick; editing by Simon

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