REFILE-Merkel: China must take more responsibility for world steel market

(Changes dateline to SHENYANG, from BEIJING)

German Chancellor
Angela Merkel urged China on Tuesday to take greater
responsibility for the global steel market, noting it had
sharply increased its share of world steel production since
becoming a member of the World Trade Organization 15 years ago.

Merkel, speaking in Shenyang during her ninth visit to China
since taking office in 2005, told reporters the country now
accounted for half of world steel production.

“That means China also bears a greater responsibility for
the global steel market,” she told reporters, noting Chinese
overproduction and the resulting problems for the European steel
industry.

Merkel had signalled her concerns about Chinese steel
overcapacity in her weekly podcast before leaving for Beijing,
saying the country’s huge share of the market had created a
“very complicated” situation for European Union countries.

European steelmakers have been hit by a plunge in steel
prices which they blame largely on a surge in cheap exports from
China, where overcapacity has been exacerbated by declining
domestic demand.

The European Commission announced plans on March 16 to speed
up trade defence cases against cheap imports from China and
urged EU member states to end measures that could block higher
duties on dumped and subsidised products.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel also said in April
the EU should take a tough stance in dealing with China over low
steel prices.

Both Gabriel, who heads the Social Democratic Party, and
Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats, have said they want
to address the issue while avoiding a trade war with China.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing
by Mark Potter)

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