June 19, 2018 / 7:08 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Japan steel lobby fears US-China spat may prompt global trade order 'collapse'

* U.S.-China trade tensions are “great concern” -Japan steel body

* But says Japan steel exports to US not impacted by March tariffs (Adds comment, detail)

TOKYO, June 19 (Reuters) - The head of Japan’s steel industry group on Tuesday said he was worried that an escalating trade spat between the United States and China would lead to a “collapse” of order in global trade.

Rising trade tensions between the two countries were a matter of “great concern”, Japan Iron and Steel Federation Chairman Koji Kakigi told a news conference.

“If intensifying trade conflicts trigger further import duties, that may lead to a collapse of order in global trade at its core,” he said.

Kakigi, who is also president of JFE Steel, a unit of JFE Holdings Inc, added that it would be a serious problem if the World Trade Organization’s framework for trade was undermined.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, escalating a tit-for-tat trade war with Beijing.

However, Kakigi, said that U.S. import duties on steel that were imposed in March had not had any major impact on Japanese steel exports to the United States.

A total of about 16,000 applications by U.S. steel users to seek item exemptions from the U.S. tariffs have been submitted to the U.S. government, but none of them have been approved so far, he said.

“We understand it takes 90 days on average for the process and we expect the first approval (for item exemptions) to come in early July,” he said.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Joseph Radford

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