Tokyo, Oct. 26 (Jiji Press)–Ministers discussing policies to tackle global steel oversupply failed to extend the mandate of their forum at a meeting in Tokyo on Saturday, due to opposition from China, a major producer.
The Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, which involves 33 steel-producing countries and regions, will end its mandate in December as originally scheduled.
In a chair’s closing statement, Japan expressed its intention to continue discussions on measures against steel oversupply by setting up a new multilateral framework with the European Union and others.
Speaking after the ministerial meeting, a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce suggested China’s readiness to work with the new framework. China will continue to support multilateral exchanges and cooperation, the official said.
Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama, who chaired the meeting, told a new conference that Japan will continue to make every effort to tackle the steel excess capacity.
Japan will also strengthen bilateral cooperation with China, Kajiyama said, revealing that Japan has asked China to hold a high-level dialogue.
The chair’s statement said the gap between steelmaking capacity and demand shrank from three years ago. “At the same time, given the persistence of excess capacity, the global steel industry has noted continuing concerns, and stressed the need for further efforts to address the problem.”
Due to China’s belief that the forum “has achieved its goals,” the ministerial meeting failed to hammer out an agreement to extend the forum’s mandate, according to the statement.
The statement underscored the importance that the new framework of dialogue will be an “open platform” joined by not only the Group of 20 major economies but also other economies.
The steel forum was created under an agreement at the G-20 summit in September 2016 in order to address excess steel production by China.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, global steel production capacity stood at 2.23 billion tons in 2018, with China accounting for almost half of the total. By contrast, global steel demand stood at about 1.8 billion tons.