Depending on who you listen to, the whole Chinese steel issue is one big beat-up, or it is an area of true concern.
The Government’s sensitivity over the relationship with China was evident yesterday as Ministers retreated into no comments over allegations that China was threatening trade reprisals on New Zealand.
The threats emerged in the “Sunday Star Times” which claimed that highly-placed sources confirmed China was applying pressure in an attempt to sway regulators at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Trade (MBIE) away from imposing anti-dumping or countervailing duties on cheap imported Chinese steel.
The paper also quoted “unscreened” comments from China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Wang Lutong who said there was no issue with the imported steel quality but the embassy had been discussing the industry’s concerns with New Zealand authorities.
Questions to MBIE Minister Steven Joyce on the issue were referred to Commerce Minister Paul Goldsmith, who would not confirm or deny whether a complaint from China had been received.
It has been clear since Whaleoil broke this story on Saturday that people at all levels are trying to hose this one down, but rather unsuccessfully.