China's steel exports hit a record high in 2006 despite
government cooling measures and anti-dumping investigations
launched by trade partners, according to customs figures released
China exported 43.01 million tonnes of steel in 2006, up 109.6
percent year-on-year, while imports dropped 28.3 percent to 18.51
Net exports for the year reached 24.5 million tonnes.
Exports in December surged 19.9 percent from November to hit
5.55 million tonnes, up 205 percent from the same period last
Monthly imports decreased 17.5 percent year-on-year to stand at
1.51 million tonnes, up 2.3 percent from a month earlier, leaving
net monthly exports at 4.04 million tonnes.
China's booming steel exports have long been blamed for trade
friction. Steel producers in the United States and the American
Iron and Steel Institute appealed to U.S. trade officials twice
last year, demanding action to counter China's alleged subsidies to
its steel manufacturers.
To ease tensions and to slow the production of energy- and
resource-intensive products, the government cut the export tax
rebate rate of steel products three times since last year, from 15
to eight percent, and ended subsidies to steel producers.
The authority has also pressed for industry consolidation by
eradicating low capacity iron mills with high energy consumption to
sharpen the industry competitiveness.
Furnaces with a maximum 200 cubic meters in volume, converters
and electric furnaces with maximum capacities of 20 tonnes will no
longer be put in operation in China, according to the China Iron
and Steel Association (CSIA).
China imported 28.62 million tonnes of iron ore in December
2006, and imports for the whole year totaled 326.3 million
China's largest steelmaker, the Baosteel Group, settled the iron
ore price for 2007, at a 9.5 percent increase from last year, with
the major Brazilian ore producer Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
The country has tightened its import rules to avoid putting
further pressure on soaring international prices by requiring
importers to double their registered capital to at least 20 million
The CSIA predicted imports are expected to rise to 355 million
tonnes in 2007.
China is the world's biggest producer and consumer of steel,
with hundreds of operational steel companies.
(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2007)