China says not encouraging mass steel exports

China does not seek to boost steel exports, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said, as it tried to mitigate worries that the country is dumping its steel products to ease a domestic supply glut.

China’s steel exports have been rising in recent years. In 2015, Chinese firms sold 112 million tonnes on overseas markets, up 20 percent year on year.

“The government has adopted a series of measures to curb the trend,” CISA said in report, citing export duties and lower tax rebate rates for some steel products.

CISA attributes the export surge mainly to increasing demand following the global economic recovery and improvement in Chinese products, according to Xinhua news agency.

Weighed on by a slowdown in the broader economy, China’s steel industry is being squeezed by serious overcapacity at home and anti-dumping investigations abroad, it said.

More efforts have been made by the government to downsize the industry, but the situation remains challenging. Meanwhile, the United States and Europe have launched probes or imposed exorbitant tariffs on Chinese steel using methods that, China has argued, violated rules of the World Trade Organization.

CISA said it is willing to resolve trade friction, but will “resolutely fight protectionism and oppose politicizing the steel trade issue.”

Despite its economic woes, China remains the world’s largest steel producer and consumer.

The government has shut down factories with total capacity of over 90 million tonnes in the past five years and plans to slash another 100 million to 150 million tonnes by 2020.

Crude steel output fell for the first time in a quarter century in last year, down 2.33 percent year on year, but rose again this April.

 

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