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China Imposes Export Licensing On 83 Steel Products

Goal is to slow down steel exports and reduce trade surplus

Beginning on May 20, China will impose an export license policy on 83 steel products in a bid to slow down steel exports and reduce its trade surplus, state media said May 8. The Ministry of Commerce has issued a joint notice with the customs administration listing the items affected, including cold-rolled sheets, hot-rolled steel rolls and plates, the Xinhua news agency said.

China removed, as of April 15, exports tax rebates on the same 83 steel products and lowered the rate on 76 others to 5% after both trade surplus and steel exports surged in the first quarter.

China exported 14.1 million tons of steel products in the first quarter, up 118.4% from the same period a year earlier, according to customs figures. China is the world's biggest producer and consumer for steel. It became a net steel exporter in December 2006, the first time in more than 20 years.

China's overall trade surplus soared to $46.4 billion in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the $23.3 billion in the same period last year.

Observers said curbing exports by the energy and pollution-intensive steel industry will also help the government attain its goal in energy saving and pollution control, a new policy priority for the government, Xinhua said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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