ACCORDING to Chinese reports, export tariffs on Chinese steel billets, pig iron, and non-alloy steel ingots were increased from 15% to 25% on January 1, in an effort by the government to restrain its trade surplus, reduce energy consumption, and cut rising air pollution in the country.
In addition, the government has raised export duties on steel long products, strip, and welded tubes from 10% to 15%.
The policy changes are aimed at cutting steel exports by 20 million metric tons this year. It’s thought tariffs may rise further if the export levels continue to rise.
China is the world’s largest steel-producing nation, with 422.7 million metric tons produced in 2006 according to the International Iron & Steel Institute.
However, steel production in China grew by almost 70 million metric tons from 2005 to 2006. Concern over surplus capacity is shared abroad, as well as in China.
The government’s central planners have been pushing a plan to consolidate capacity from dozens of organizations into a handful of producers, mostly without success.
The trade association of European iron and steel producers, or Eurofer, in October petitioned the European Union to impose anti-dumping penalties up to 40% on imports of certain Chinese steel products, as well as steel imports from Taiwan and South Korea.
The products in question are cold-rolled stainless strip from China, South Korea, and Taiwan, and hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip from China. Those charges are under investigation.