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United States Questions Effectiveness of Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity

In a statement issued at the close of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity ministerial meeting held on 20 September in Paris, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative questioned the effectiveness of this multi-lateral mechanism due to its inability to achieve concrete progress in a timely fashion. While mainland China was not expressly mentioned in the statement, it strongly appears that most of the U.S. criticism is squarely directed at the Asian giant.

USTR asserted that commitments to provide timely information critical to the proper functioning of the Forum’s work have gone unfulfilled and progress toward true market-based reform in the economies that have contributed most to the steel excess capacity crisis has been limited. While the Forum issued a report illustrating the struggles and limitations of the process to date and highlighting the urgency of the steel excess capacity problem, USTR believes that in-and-of itself the report will not solve the fundamental causes of the problem.

The steel excess capacity issue will only be resolved, according to USTR, “when those that have created this problem act to remove subsidies and other measures that distort markets and create serious global imbalances, and take action to eliminate excess capacity.” While the United States remains willing to work with like-minded countries to find solutions, USTR warned that “we will not sit idly by while the effects of this crisis imperil our companies and workers and threaten to impair our essential security interests.”

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