16 Sep 2010 13:41

China won't add new constraints on steel product exports - GAC official

Shanghai. September 16. INTERFAX-CHINA - China's central government is unlikely to issue policies in the near future that could further curb steel product exports, an official with the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said at a Sept. 15 conference in Shanghai.

On July 15 the central government cancelled the nine percent export tax rebates for certain steel products, including hot-rolled steel coil, steel sections, hot-dipped galvanized coil and certain narrow cold-rolled products.

On Aug. 12 Interfax reported that China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) left open the possibility that it may introduce additional changes to export tax rebates in the second half of the year to support a national energy conservation campaign and cut emissions in certain industries, including steelmaking.

Huang Guohua, director of the GAC's department of statistics, told reporters gathered at the Mysteel 5th China International Steel Forum 2010 on Sept. 15 that the central government does not intend to further restrain steel product exports after they witnessed drops in both July and August.

Huang added, however, that steel product exports will not receive any support unless they are substantially affected by the tax rebate cancellations.

Luo Tiejun, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's (MIIT) department of raw material industry, said at the same conference that China's steel industry must maintain a certain level of exports in order to be considered a serious player on the international market.

Yan Dong, director of the export department at Angang Group International Trade Corp., told Interfax that the company's steel product exports have been hugely impacted as a direct result of the rebate cancellations. He added that the government needs to review its policy, as not all products that have lost their tax rebates are low-end and high energy consuming.

According to Yan, the company's hot-rolled coil exports in August totaled around only 20,000 to 30,000 tons. Previous to the tax rebate cancellations, the average monthly export figure was around 150,000 tons.

In addition to the rebate cancellations, the newly imposed U.S. countervailing and anti-dumping duties mean the company is now unable to export steel pipe to the U.S.

The company exported an average of around 100,000 tons of steel pipe to the U.S. and Europe each year. Countervailing and anti-dumping duties have now made such exports impossible.