US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Photo: Reuters

Just after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic advisor Liu He touched down in Washington on Tuesday to talk trade, the US Commerce Department added to his list of discussion topics.

The agency announced a decision to slap heavy tariffs on aluminum foil imported from China, ranging from  48.64 to 106.09 percent of the import price. Imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at an estimated US$389 million in 2016, according to the Commerce Department.

In a statement released Wednesday, China’s Commerce Ministry expressed its “strong dissatisfaction” with the decision.

“The US aluminum industry twenty years ago had already withdrawn of their own free will from low value-added aluminum manufacturing, shifting to more profitable aluminum products,” Wang Hejun, head of the ministry’s trade remedy department said in the statement.

“For this reason the drop in US aluminum production volume and its market share was the choice of the US industry itself, not the result of imports,” Wang went on.

“The US’s unreasonable and excessive use of trade remedy measures not only will not bring about the US aluminum industry’s ‘rejuvenation,’ it will also influence domestic employment and harm the welfare of the consumer.”

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