The tariffs would go into effect immediately, the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.

"The ministry has decided that dumping of such products does exist, and has caused substantial damage," the ministry said.

The tariffs would last for five years from 23 September 2003, when China decided to impose anti-dumping measures against cold-rolled steel imports from the four countries and Taiwan, the ministry said. 

But the ministry said it had temporarily postponed the penalties at that time due to "special circumstances". It did not elaborate.

"The decision will have a positive impact on the company's operations and production"

Spokesman,
Wuhan Steel

Top domestic steel producers such as Baoshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd, Angang New Steel Co Ltd and Wuhan Steel, who complained to the government about the cold-rolled steel imports, welcomed the move on Wednesday.

"The decision will have a positive impact on the company's operations and production," Wuhan Steel said in a statement
published in the Shanghai Securities News.

China launched an anti-dumping probe into cold-rolled steel imports in March 2002, shortly after the United States slapped hefty tariffs on a range of steel imports to aid its financially troubled steel industry.