Britain on Saturday asked China to hurry up in tackling overcapacity in its steel industry, hoping to stem the flood of cheap imports into Europe which India’s Tata Steel Ltd has blamed for its decision to pull out of the UK, putting 15,000 jobs at risk.
Tata put its entire UK business up for sale last month, including its flagship production plant at Port Talbot in south Wales, saying it could no longer endure mounting losses caused by increased imports to Europe from countries such as China, high manufacturing costs and domestic market weakness.
“I urged China to accelerate its efforts to reduce levels of steel production,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement issued after he met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi (王毅), in Beijing.
“The UK’s focus is on finding a long-term sustainable future for steelmaking at Port Talbot and across the UK and I welcomed the potential interest of Chinese companies in investment in UK steelmaking,” Hammond said.
The global steel industry is suffering from overcapacity as a slowdown in growth in the Chinese economy has reduced domestic demand.
China, which produces half of the world’s steel, as well as Russia have responded by diverting more of their output to markets like Europe, sending prices plummeting.
The EU opened three anti-dumping investigations into Chinese steel products in February and imposed new duties on imports after the European steel industry said thousands of jobs were at stake.
China said earlier on Saturday that plans to shut steel mills over the next five years would cut capacity to an estimated 1.13 billion tonnes by 2020, which is still far in excess of the country’s needs.
A statement released by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Wang’s meeting with Hammond made no mention of the steel issue.
Separately, Tata Steel on Saturday said that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating a lapse in procedures at its steel-making site in Yorkshire, as the group seeks to sell its UK operations.
In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Tata confirmed media reports of an SFO probe, saying it notified fraud investigators after discovering the problems last year.
“During an internal audit conducted by the company, certain inappropriate testing and certification procedures at the South Yorkshire-based Speciality Steels business were identified,” Tata said in the filing, signed by company secretary Parvatheesam Kanchinadham.
Tata did not specify the issues, but the UK’s Daily Telegraph said police were probing allegations staff may have falsified certificates detailing the composition of its steel before sale.
Tata said that after discovering the problems it immediately stopped the improper practices, alerted more than 600 direct and indirect customers and notified bodies including the SFO, which has opened a criminal investigation.
Additional reporting by AFP
Tesla Inc temporarily halted some production at its auto assembly plant in California because of problems with its supply chain, but work has begun to resume, CEO Elon Musk told employees in an e-mail on Thursday. “We are experiencing some parts supply issues, so took the opportunity to bring Fremont production down for a few days to do equipment upgrades and maintenance,” Musk said in an all-staff message seen by Bloomberg. The factory was “back up and running as of yesterday,” and would rapidly ramp up to full production of Model 3 and Model Y cars “over the next several days,”
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is expected to post a 25 percent year-on-year increase in sales in the first quarter of this year to US$12.91 billion, up from US$10.31 billion a year earlier, as its production is at full capacity, market advisory firm TrendForce Corp said in a note last week. The increase would help TSMC cement its leadership in the industry by taking a 56 percent market share in the global pure wafer foundry business, TrendForce said. Its forecast was in line with TSMC’s estimate in January, which pointed to a range of US$12.7 billion to US$13 billion for the
MULTI-USE: The arrangement of seats in future vehicles would be different, allowing passengers to do everything they do at home, the CEO of the firm’s EV platform said Electric vehicles (EVs) developed on a Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) platform would be built like “a smartphone on a different platform,” Jack Cheng (鄭顯聰), chief executive officer of the Hon Hai-initiated MIH Open Platform Alliance, said on Saturday. It would be the ultimate goal to make vehicles built on the platform an extension of the driver’s home, he said during an online presentation. The alliance aims to provide resources to automakers and boost Taiwan’s EV development, with a vision to make an EV its owner’s “second home,” Cheng said. “Whatever they can do in their home, they will be able
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was on Thursday set to sell local currency bonds, as it prepared for a spending blitz amid a global chip shortage. The world’s largest contract chipmaker planned to price about NT$16 billion (US$565.25 million) of notes in three parts in an auction, though the actual issuance size might change. The manufacturer would have to contend with a recent rise in rates globally that has sent many corporate bond yields up from record lows in the past few weeks. The debt offering comes at a promising time for the semiconductor industry as the world scrambles its way