China says EU anti-dumping duties are 'unjustifiable protection'

MOFCOM expressed regret that the move came just weeks after a Group of 20 nations meeting in Chengdu

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The sun sets behind a chimney of a steel mill in Tangshan, Hebei province February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The European Commission's imposition of heavy anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel bars is "unjustifiable protection for the EU steel industry," the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). MOFCOM expressed regret that the move came just weeks after  a Group of 20 nations meeting in Chengdu, China, where finance ministers had committed to avoid protectionism.
China's steel industry, swamped in overcapacity yet a major employer, has struggled to meet capacity reduction targets, and rising prices for steel have encouraged producers to ramp up production for export. China's monthly steel exports rose to the second-highest on record at 10.94 million tonnes in June, data showed, as steel mills kept shipping out products, despite complaints of dumping from other regions including the United States and Europe.

(Reporting by Pete Sweeney; Editing by Kim Coghill)