China has acceded to Japan’s request that it exclude Japanese products from its emergency three-year curbs on steel imports, steel industry sources in Beijing said Monday.

China formally invoked so-called safeguard tariff measures Nov. 20, covering five categories of steel products.

The categories covered include hot-rolled steel sheets, cold-rolled stainless sheets, cold-rolled standard steel and coated plate.

Beijing had said the emergency tariffs were a necessary countermeasure to compensate for Washington’s imposition of three-year tariffs of up to 30 percent on an array of steel imports in March.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Trade on Economic Cooperation announced on its Web site over the weekend that it has decided to lift some of the special safeguard measures in response to requests by “interested parties.”

Japan had called on China to exempt Japanese products and warned that imposing the curbs might violate the rules of the WTO. It had said the measures would have negative effects on the Japanese steel industry and would not be helpful for nurturing key industries.

The two sides have held trade talks based on the WTO Agreement on Safeguards, which stipulates that a WTO member wishing to apply or extend a safeguard measure should provide “adequate opportunity for prior consultations.”

The European Union and South Korea have also held WTO-mandated talks with China, hoping to persuade Beijing not to impose the tariffs.

The safeguard tariffs also target imports from Taiwan and Russia.

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