LONDON (AP) - Tata Steel announced plans to cut 1,200 jobs in the U.K. on Tuesday, underscoring the damage caused by cheap Chinese imports and throwing a shroud over the first day of a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping designed to usher in a "golden era" of relations between the two countries.

LONDON (AP) Tata Steel announced plans to cut 1,200 jobs in the U.K. on Tuesday, underscoring the damage caused by cheap Chinese imports and throwing a shroud over the first day of a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping designed to usher in a "golden era" of relations between the two countries.

The announcement of layoffs in northeast England and Scotland flatly blames the job losses on a "flood of cheap imports, particularly from China," together with a strong pound and high electricity costs. Though the layoffs have been rumored for days, the timing of the announcement coming on the first day of Xi's visit seemed certain to win maximum attention.

"The U.K. steel industry is struggling for survival in the face of extremely challenging market conditions," Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel's European operations, said in a statement. "This industry has a crucial role to play in rebalancing the U.K. economy, but we need a fairer system to encourage growth."

Koehler called on the European Commission, the governing body for the European Union, to do much more to deal with unfairly traded imports.

"Inaction threatens the future of the entire European steel industry," he said.

Britain's government is under pressure to raise the issue of China selling steel at a loss on world markets. Tata's decision comes only weeks after 2,200 jobs were lost at SSI's plant in northeast England. Another firm, Caparo, went into partial administration on Monday.