China's "import dependence" on many things is because Chinese believe - correctly - that the lowest form of economic activity is exporting food and raw materials. It is better to reserve your own materials as long as possible and import from others as much as possible.China has iron ore reserves. The issue was that it was economically infeasibile to mine it. However as another member pointed out, recently , iron ore prices have dramatically increased thus allowing China to undertake such mining
In fact China is already passing the costs down to end customers and exporting inflation. There is no alternative to China so customers eat the increased cost, just like tariffs. Sucks to be them, yet another own goal.