Steel News

Steel Associations Praise Effort to Continue International Forum on Excess Capacity 

10/31/2019 - Sixteen steel industry associations are applauding a decision to continue the work of an international body aimed at reducing excess capacity even as it is set to dissolve this year.
Established in 2016 during a G20 summit, the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity was to be a cooperative attempt among the world’s governments to address excess capacity through policy. The forum’s initial three-year mandate expires this year, and although a majority of participating countries were pushing for its renewal, Chinese officials declined to support an extension during a forum meeting last Saturday.

In withholding support for an extension, China argued that the forum has accomplished its objectives and should be allowed to lapse.  

China’s Ministry of Commerce said the country already has made the “greatest and most outstanding” contribution to global capacity reduction, cutting capacity by more than 150 million metric tons and redeployed more than 280,000 steel workers, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.  

But despite China’s unwillingness to extend the forum, other countries agreed during the meeting to continue to work on reducing excess capacity.  

“The forum puts the finger on what continues to cause steel overcapacity and what is needed to eradicate it. As long as overcapacity persists, the EU is determined to continue forum work and bring it to G20 leaders,” European Commission vice president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said in a statement. 

The 16 steel associations that praised the decision to continue the forum’s work include those from North America, South America, South Africa,  Japan, Europe and India. 

“We are pleased that it is the will of a large majority of members to pursue meaningful efforts on the issue of steel excess capacity on the same basis as the work of the Forum over the past three years,” they said in a joint statement Thursday. 

“Governments of steelmaking economies worldwide must redouble their efforts to address this persistent global excess capacity in the steel sector, eliminating the support measures that cause it, and implementing strong rules and remedies that reduce excess capacity. We call on governments to continue the work on the issue of steel excess capacity without delay.”

Among the U.S.-based associations signing the statement was the American Iron and Steel Institute. AISI president and chief executive Tom Gibson said the institute is waiting to see what form the new forum might take. 

“I’d expect to hear soon … on what the new forum membership will be,” he told Politico.

“I think we can view the governments of the rest of the world essentially as calling [China’s] bluff on this and saying, ‘We’re ready to proceed without you."