China said on Friday that it is willing to work with any country to promote multilateralism and economic growth, after the US announced that it would maintain tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico, a measure which Beijing called "indiscriminate".
The statement came a day after US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told reporters that the US decided to no longer exempt the three regions from a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports.
"It is true that a lot of countries are concerned with this indiscriminate showing of protectionism and unilateralism, " Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press conference.
"We believe that all countries, especially major economies, should uphold multilateralism to these indiscriminate actions which are not constructive, " she said.
The spokesperson urged all countries to oppose the US measures and uphold an "open and transparent" international trade system with the World Trade Organisation at its centre, Efe news reported.
Ross, who had arrived in Beijing on Wednesday along with a 50 - member delegation to continue trade negotiations between the US and China, told reporters in a conference call from the city that the tariffs would be applicable for the three regions too, adding that the duties would come into effect from June 1.
Washington had temporarily offered an exemption to the three entities a month ago, citing close ties and in order to allow more time for negotiations.
Ross said that the progress of discussions with the EU had not been enough to continue the temporary suspensions of the tariffs or reach long - term exemptions, resulting in the implementation of the duties.
EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini, meanwhile, held meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Brussels, where she expressed her concern regarding the trade dispute and underlined the importance of maintaining strong bilateral relations with China in order to protect against it.
"We are clearly living in times of geopolitical turbulence and uncertainties, so the cooperation between China and the EU becomes even more important, not only for China and Europe but also for the rest of the world, " Mogherini said, making no direct reference to the US.