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Reprisal tariffs towards US lifted(12/27/03)

    The Ministry of Commerce announced on December 26 it is lifting retaliatory tariffs on five steel products.

    The move is a response to a US decision earlier this month to drop tariffs on steel imports.

    "In view of the latest developments in the steel trade, the Ministry of Commerce has decided to terminate its safeguard steps starting December 26,'' the ministry said in a statement published on its website.

    In March 2002 the US began imposing safeguard tariffs of up to 30 per cent on steel imports in a move to aid its floundering steel industry.

    However, the World Trade Organization last month ruled the US tariffs were illegal.

    In November 2002 the Chinese Government responded to the US safeguard by slapping temporary tariffs of up to 26 per cent on imports of five steel products, including thin plate steel and cold-rolled thin stainless steel.

    The five kinds of products accounted for up to 40 per cent of the 17 million tons of steel China imported in 2002.

    China exported 5.71 million tons of steel during the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 28 per cent over 2002, but only a minuscule amount of its total steel output.

    The nation's total steel output increased by 20.48 per cent year-on-year to 191.87 million tons.

    Analysts expect China's cancellation of the retaliatory tariffs will invite an influx of steel that could exert some pressure on domestic prices.

    The nation imported 31.05 million tons of steel during the first 10 months of this year, up 51 per cent from the same period last year.

    In response to the news, the stock of China's largest steelmaker Baosteel, fell 1.35 per cent to 7.30 yuan (88.2 US cents). China's second-largest steelmaker, Angang Newsteel Co Ltd, slid 1.59 per cent to 5.58 yuan (67 US cents), while Maanshan Iron and Steel Co shed 1.63 per cent to 4.82 yuan (58 US cents).


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