Sat, Sep 11, 2004 - Page 11 News List

China scraps anti-dumping duties on cold-rolled steel

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China scrapped anti-dumping tariffs on cold-rolled steel from countries including Russia, South Korea and Taiwan to help prevent a shortage of the product, used to make cars and appliances, and rein in inflation.

A survey of China's steel market, started in May, showed that the country faces a shortage of the steel, prompting the government to scrap tariffs that were imposed in January, the commerce ministry said in a statement. The tariffs were also withdrawn on cold-rolled steel from Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

"There have been some changes in the international and domestic steel markets, and China is facing periodic shortages of cold-rolled steel,'' the commerce ministry's statement said.

This is the first time China has scrapped tariffs because of changes in market conditions, it said.

China's government is trying to slow an expansion in industrial output, which has raised prices for steel and other raw materials, boosting inflation to a seven-year high of 5.3 percent in July. China's industrial production growth picked up last month for the first time in six months, growing 15.9 percent, compared with 15.5 percent in July.

"Economic growth in the US has caused international steel prices to rise and that's leading to price pressure in China, which the government is trying to control,'' said Lu Yizhen, head of research at Efund Management Co in Guangzhou.

Prices for cold-rolled steel delivered to China have risen 13 percent over the past month to US$618, according to Metal Bulletin prices.

China Steel Corp (中鋼), Taiwan's biggest steelmaker, said China's decision to scrap anti-dumping duties on cold-rolled steel from the island will help sales in China.

"This gives us a new chance," said T.P. Hsieh, general manager at China Steel's marketing administration department. "We could increase sales in the mainland's domestic market in the future."

China Steel sells about 10 percent of its production to China, mostly to Taiwanese companies based in China for re-exports, Hsieh said.

China Steel shares gained 0.6 percent to close at NT$32.80 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The stock has risen a fifth this year.

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