China on Monday launched an anti-dumping probe into stainless steel products imported from the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia as the metal remains the focus of global trade tensions.
This spring Washington slapped steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from major producers, including China, citing concerns that a glut of the metals was hurting US industry and threatening national security.
Although the measures were largely aimed at overcapacity in China, Beijing on Monday became the latest government to take action on the issue after a local producer called for an investigation into alleged dumping.
China's probe focuses on stainless steel billet and hot-rolled stainless steel plate, according to a statement from the commerce ministry.
The initial complaint was filed by Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel, with support from five other manufacturers including a subsidiary of industry giant Baosteel.
China imported 703,105 tonnes of such products in 2017 -- up 189 percent from the previous year -- 98 percent of which came from the regions targeted by the probe, Shanxi Taigang said in its complaint.
"China's domestic industries that produce the same products have suffered substantial damage and threats of substantial damage," the complaint said.
It blamed "massive importing and dumping" for having an "obvious negative impact" on the price of domestic products.
China is by far the world's biggest steel producer with more than 831 million tonnes in 2017. Shanxi Taigang accounted for 25 to 35 percent of the country's total stainless steel production in 2017.