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Top Chinese steelmaker urges support for exports

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China’s biggest privately-owned steel producer, said last month that the government should provide steelmakers with more support in their efforts to export products.

Foreign steelmakers have been accusing the country’s firms of flooding the global market with cheap, subsidized steel exports and driving them out of business.

But Chen Ying, Shagang’s general manager, said supporting exports would help speed up China’s efforts to tackle a massive capacity surplus now amounting to around 300 million tonnes a year.

“China should support exports – steel product exports and moving projects and plants abroad,” said Chen at an industry conference.

“Chinese steel products have an international market and there is demand,” she said. “If there is demand, why shouldn’t steel products be exported?”

Ma Guoqiang, chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, told the conference earlier that the government had never encouraged China’s steel firms to boost exports, saying the sector was primarily oriented toward the domestic market.

The country’s central bank had said that China would boost state support for the export of steel by encouraging firms to shift production abroad. Chinese steel exports reached a record high of 112.4 million tonnes last year, up 19.9 percent on the year.