China and other major steel-producing nations have failed to produce an agreement on tackling a global steel glut. As Eve Johnson reports, talks ended in finger-pointing over who's to blame for the overcapacity.
The world is swimming in cheap steel, and China's getting the blame. Big global producers have been meeting in Belgium to find a solution, as companies struggle to survive... But no agreement was achieved. Washington is pointing the finger at Beijing - threatening trade action if it doesn't slow production (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, HEAD OF RESEARCH, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "The Chinese are trying to spin the fact that 30 countries coming together to solve the global steel glut was positive in as much as the Chinese did commit to reducing some of their overcapacity at the moment. Unfortunately, what didn't come out of the meeting was a formal agreement." Some of those steel mills have found survival through exports. Shipments soaring 30 percent in March compared to a year ago. Experts say don't expect that to drop overnight - (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, HEAD OF RESEARCH, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "There's clearly going to be some pressure on prices for some time to come, because clearly in the absence of a formal agreement, nothing is actually committed to, and even if something had been committed to, there's obviously then the lead time." Beijing is worried that if it starts shutting down steel factories... it could lead to massive social unrest. China's responded to global pressure by getting a little defensive. ...a government spokesman on Tuesday saying "We've already done more than enough to deal with over-supply. What more do you want us to do?" State media is taking a similar tone ...saying that blaming Beijing is just a lame and lazy excuse for protectionism. China insists it's got a plan to slow down output - although critics say even if it reaches its goals it will have much more than it needs. And the country is still building new plants.