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Sinosteel Ceases Iron Ore Imports in Duty Protest
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Following India's decision to levy heavy export duties on its iron ore exports, China's second largest iron ore importer Sinosteel Corporation has halted all imports from one of its major trade partners. This announcement came a week after India set a new 300 rupees (US$7) levy per ton of iron ore exported from March 1.

Although Sinosteel's management were not reachable for comment, this is the latest reaction from China's stunned steel industry, 100 buyers from which convened on Tuesday to draft an appropriate response to the new duties.

The common view was to appeal to the Indian government to impose a fairer scheme before its Parliament fully approves the duties two weeks from now, the International Financial News reported on Thursday.

Sinosteel's move is a punishing one since it is the first to react to the duties in a real manner despite being China's biggest importer of Indian ore, with annual imports reaching 10 million tons.

A report by the China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC) stated that Indian iron ore would lose its price competitiveness, forcing Chinese buyers to rely more on Brazil and Australia, which also saw a downturn in exports after levying similar duties.

2006 saw China import 74 million tons of iron ore from India, close to a fifth of its total imports.

The CICC report continued to say that the price hike would have only a limited effect on China's steel industry due to a worldwide rise in steel prices.

After rising by 9.94 percent over 2006 to 4,055 yuan (US$506.8) per ton this February, the National Development and Reform Commission has forewarned about further rises, likely to occur in March. 

(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2007)

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