Action against steel dumping “ridiculous”, says Chinese official

Image: EPA/XIN JUN

A senior Chinese official has said Chinese steel demand peaked two years ago, and called Australia’s attitude to steel dumping “ridiculous”.

Li Xinchuang, president of the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute told The Australian that production of Chinese steel peaked in 2014 at 823 million tonnes. Over half of this is used in local buildings and infrastructure, and demand has slumped by 5.5 per cent in 2015 then 3 per cent in the year’s first half.

Last week Xi Jinping, the country’s president, announced ahead of the G20 summit that production would be cut by between 100 million and 150 million tonnes by 2020. US and European countries have shut steelworks and blamed oversupply from China for their woes.

“Previously… growth was driven by investment, now by consumption and the services sector,” Li told The Australian, saying that declined demand would see China’s need to keep exporting continue.

He also called recent action against steel dumping “ridiculous” and blocking Chinese acquisitions “small-country behaviour”.

Since 2010, Australia has taken 21 trade remedy measures against China over steel and aluminium imports.