May 25, 2017 / 4:29 AM / 3 months ago

China defends tariffs on sugar imports, says will maintain fairer trade

BEIJING, May 25 (Reuters) - China's recent decision to impose extra tariffs on sugar imports would help maintain a fairer market and trade, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, its first comment on the safeguards announced earlier this week.

The comments followed criticism of the decision by major sugar exporter Brazil, which an industry group said is set to suffer a sharp reduction in exports because of the Chinese tariffs.

Commerce ministry spokesman Sun Jiwen said in a regular briefing on Thursday to reporters that it "strictly followed" Chinese laws and World Trade Organization (WTO) rules during its investigation into alleged dumping by exporters and the ruling was "in line with the long-term interest of various parties".

Brazilian sugar exports to China could fall around 800,000 tonnes in the next 12 months as a result of China's higher import tariffs, local sugar industry group Unica said on Monday.

China introduced an extra tariff for the next three years on sugar imports that the government said have "seriously damaged" the domestic industry. (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Sue-lin Wong; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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