Japan steel industry head says concerned by Trump 'protectionism'

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Kosei Shindo, president of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, makes a speech at a ceremony to welcome newly-hired employees in Tokyo, Japan April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (Copyright Reuters 2017)

Japan Iron and Steel Federation chairman Kosei Shindo said on Monday he has strong concerns over "protectionism" by U.S. President Donald Trump.

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"We will carefully observe the U.S. trade probe against imported steel," Shindo, who is also president of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp <5401.T>, told a news conference.

Trump on Thursday launched a trade probe against China and other exporters of cheap steel into the U.S. market, raising the possibility of new tariffs.

Shindo also said he expects coking coal prices to gradually fall as rail lines resume operations in cyclone-hit Australia.

The price of coking coal - a key steel-making ingredient - has jumped since Cyclone Debbie disrupted rail lines in Australia late last month.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Richard Pullin)