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Crude steel exports may fall in 2008
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Crude steel exports are likely to fall by 20 million tons next year as a result of government curbs, the industry association said yesterday.


"Expanding exports is not the industry's development objective. We should insist on satisfying the domestic market and carry out government policy this year to further check steel exports," said Luo Bingsheng, vice-chairman of the China Iron & Steel Association.


Steel product exports for the first 11 months were close to 58 million tons, a 55 percent gain from a year earlier, according to Customs data.


"Total exports of crude steel this year are expected to be around 72 million tons, accounting for 14.8 percent of the whole year's output of 490 million tons," Luo said. "The export figures are on the high side."


Luo also said the authorities are looking into introducing a steel export tariff next year, but there's no clear timetable.


Wu Jiahuang, a researcher with the China Institute of the WTO, agreed that steel product export figures for the past five years were too high.


"After China's entry to WTO, total exports increased at an annual average of 29 percent. But the average growth rate for steel product exports was 60 percent," Wu said.


The nation has shifted from being an importer to a net exporter in the global steel industry since 2005 on its low-cost advantage.


But the risk of anti-dumping tariffs has prompted measures to curb steel exports as part of the push to cut the trade surplus and ease friction with other countries.


In April, the country reduced export tax rebates for 76 steel products from 8-11 to 5 percent and removed tax rebates on another 83 categories.


In July, it slashed export tax rebates for 161 steel products from 11-13 to 0-5 percent. That move came a month after the nation imposed 5-10 percent export tariffs on 82 steel products and raised duties on exports of another 19 categories from 10 to 15 percent.


Steel product exports began to slow in May.


(China Daily December 21, 2007)

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