China bends on steel
Latest news from the G20 summit
China agreed at the G20 summit to steps toward reducing its politically volatile steel exports but avoided binding commitments.
Beijing made boosting sluggish global growth through increased trade a theme of the Group of 20 meeting in this lakeside city southwest of Shanghai, but faces complaints that a flood of low-cost Chinese steel exports threatens US and European jobs, encouraging calls for trade curbs.
In a joint communique due to be released after the meeting, China agreed to the creation of a global forum to study excess production capacity in the steel industry, according to Japan’s Nikkei and Yomiuri newspapers. They cited unidentified Japanese diplomats.
The agreement included no binding limits on Chinese output. Chinese officials insist steel overcapacity is a global issue, but US and European officials say Beijing’s vast state-owned industry, which accounts for half of global output, is the root of the problem.
Washington has hiked import duties by 500 per cent on Chinese steel to offset what it says are improper subsidies.
US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders at the two-day meeting, which ended yesterday, called for efforts to defend free trade in the face of economic anxiety that has fuelled demands in the United States and Europe to protect local industry.
China hopes its status as this year’s G20 leader will increase its influence in global economic management. Chinese officials want the grouping, created to respond to the 2008 financial crisis, to
take on a longer-term regulatory role.
In closing the summit, Xi said it had contributed to encouraging new progress in boosting global growth.
Xi said agreements had been reached on reforms to global financial institutions, combating international tax evasion practices and fighting corruption.
In a statement to international media last night, Xi said that under future cooperation guidelines, those who have committed economic crimes will have nowhere to hide.
He said the summit would also go down as a milestone in transitioning the G-20 from a crisis-management mechanism to one geared toward aiding in the long-term management of the global economy.
However, the meeting was often overshadowed by other concerns. North Korea added to these yesterday with the firing of three ballistic missiles off its east coast.
The US said the tests and other recent ones like it violate UN Security Council resolutions, and also pose a threat to aircraft and commercial ships.
At around the same time, Xi was telling his South Korean counterpart, Park Gyun-hye, that China is opposed to the deployment of a powerful US anti-missile system in South Korea.
China has responded angrily to Seoul’s decision to base the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system south of the capital, Seoul.
While Seoul and Washington say the system is intended solely to defend against North Korea’s missile threat, Beijing says it will allow the US military to peer deep into northeastern China.
HUGE: China’s steel industry accounts for half of global production