Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 13 News List

China to levy deposits on European steel products

CONSOLIDATION:Tata’s planned sale of its British operations sparked talk of it possibly acquiring parts or all of ThyssenKrupp’s European steel operations


Workers bundle rods of steel at a Dongbei Special Steel Group factory in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters/China Daily

China on Friday said it would impose import deposits of up to 46 percent on flat-rolled electrical steel products from the EU as its domestic producers face growing financial pressure.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that it would levy anti-dumping duties on imports of grain-oriented flat-rolled electrical steel from Japan, South Korea and the EU.

Importers are to pay deposits ranging from 14.5 percent to 46.3 percent, after an investigation showed the regions were guilty of dumping, which hurts the Chinese industry, the ministry added.

The announcement came as British Prime Minister David Cameron held crisis talks to salvage Britain’s steel industry after Indian giant Tata Steel Ltd said it was putting its business in the country up for sale, threatening 15,000 jobs.

Tata’s decision notably puts at risk Britain’s biggest steel plant at Port Talbot in the former industrial heartland of south Wales. The facility is Wales’ biggest single employer and closure would have a devastating impact on the local economy.

The Port Talbot plant reportedly produced grain-oriented flat-rolled steel.

China imported about 1.5 million tonnes of steel from the EU in 2014 and exported about 6.5 million tonnes of its steel to the EU, according to the World Steel Association.

EU steelmakers last week called for sharply higher anti-dumping tariffs to protect against a flood of cheap Chinese imports, while China’s own steel sector is also reeling from the effects of massive overcapacity as its economy slows.

Tata blamed chronic global oversupply of steel, a “significant increase” in cheaper imports into Europe — particularly from China — and plunging prices in recent times. The company is also battling high costs, currency volatility and weak global demand for steel, which is mostly used in construction.

Analysts immediately predicted consolidation in Europe’s steel sector, with German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp AG likely to take part.

A German newspaper on Friday reported that Tata Steel is in talks over the possible purchase of parts or all of ThyssenKrupps European steel operations.

The speculation of a tie-up with Tata Steel appeared to appeal to investors, with ThyssenKrupp shares the biggest gainers on the Frankfurt stock exchange on Friday, shooting up more than 6 percent in a generally softer market.

The regional daily Rheinische Post quoted German government sources as saying that talks were already at an advanced stage and that a number of different options were being considered.

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