U.S. Pushing China to Cut Excess Steel Capacity: Trade Official

8 March 2016

The Obama administration is pushing China to reduce excess steelmaking capacity that is causing a glut of steel imports into the United States and other world markets, the top U.S. trade official said on Monday.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters in Minneapolis that improving conditions for the U.S. steel industry and Minnesota's beleaguered iron ore range would require negotiations with other countries to eliminate subsidies for state-owned steel enterprises as well as vigilant trade enforcement efforts.

"When it comes to steel, there is a significant issue of overcapacity around the world, significantly in China where it’s estimated to have more than 400 million metric tons of excess capacity, and we’re pushing that issue with the Chinese. They know it's something they need to address," Froman said after a speech to the Economic Club of Minnesota.

Froman noted that U.S. producers have been filing anti-dumping cases against Chinese manufacturers that have been selling steel in the United States at prices below fair value, and countervailing duties have been imposed in many cases.

On Friday, the Commerce Department said it would launch an anti-dumping investigation into imports of stainless steel sheet and strip products from China.

China's Ministry of Commerce on Saturday said it is "gravely concerned" about frequent U.S. trade investigations into Chinese high-end steel products, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

"Similar probes into high-end steel products have caused significant impact on the interests of Chinese firms. China is gravely concerned about it," Xinhua said, quoting the ministry's statement.

The Xinhua report added that steel overcapacity was a global problem that required coordinated efforts from all sides and that China had already taken measures to curb excess capacity.

In Europe, Reuters exclusively reported that EU ministers reviewing China's market economy status were considering linking a lowering of EU trade defenses to a reduction of steel exports to Europe

Froman said his agency will hold a public hearing in April on the global steel market capacity situation and its impact on the U.S. steel industry.

"We have mobilized the international community – in North America and more broadly and there will be a series of high-level discussions in the coming weeks at the OECD and elsewhere about what to do," Froman said in his speech. "And we have used all of our bilateral mechanism with China to continue pressing for progress."


Source : reuters.com