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China Pursues Talks over Steel Trade Disputes
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China is trying to resolve steel trade disputes in discussions with the United States, the European Union and the Republic of Korea, the three major importers of China's steel, said Luo Bingsheng, Vice Chairman and Secretary-general of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA).

"China has been talking to these countries since last year", said Luo. "We have made legal preparations in case of an anti-dumping move aimed at China."

Luo denied China has dumped its steel to foreign countries at unfairly low prices although its steel exports grew sharply last year.

China's steel industry generated record a 170 billion yuan in gross profits in 2006, up 39.8 billion yuan, or 30.6 percent year on year.

CISA statistics show that China exported 43 million tons of steel last year, up 109.85 percent from the previous year.

More than 60 percent of China's steel exports went to the United States, the European Union and the Republic of Korea, leading to trade disputes between China and those countries.

So far, 11 countries have launched 27 anti-dumping or anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese steel producers, involving a total business volume of US$900 million.

Steel producers in the United States and the American Iron and Steel Institute appealed to U.S. trade officials twice last year, demanding that action be taken against China's alleged subsidies to its steel manufacturers.

"China's steel exports rose on the back of higher demand and a high price on the international market," Luo said. "The price of China's steel is generally consistent with the world market."

He predicted the gross profit of China's steel industry this year would remain at last year's level, but the growth rate of exports may drop slightly as new taxation and industrial policies on energy-and-resources consuming products begin to bite.

"China will export about 10 percent of its steel production this year," said Luo.

Other steel producer countries exported on average 40 percent of their production from 2001 to 2005, said Qi Xiangdong, CISA deputy secretary-general.

(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2007)

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