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Country bans expansion of 'chaotic' steel sector

With China's steel industry in turmoil over the Rio Tinto scandal, the government has instituted a three-year moratorium on applications to expand production or start new projects.

China, the world's largest iron ore buyer, needs to have more say in the global iron ore trade, Industry and Information Technology Minister Li Yizhong said yesterday.

Specifically, the country is reacting to the steel industry's production overcapacity, the minister said at a press conference in Beijing.

The government will continue backing the China Iron & Steel Association in iron ore price negotiations, but will stop the "chaotic situation" and disorderly competition among Chinese importers to address the continuous rising spot iron ore price, the minister said.

"Spot prices of iron ore are increasing sharply on the global market and we hope to see an appropriate relationship between spot prices and long-term contract prices," Li said.

Li said he hoped the world's major iron ore suppliers would consider both their own long-term interests and their long-term cooperation with China's steel industry.

Li's remarks came as Chinese police and prosecutors continue the probe of a commercial leak that, in part, caused the current deadlock in price negotiations between Chinese steel companies and foreign ore suppliers, including Australia's mining giant Rio Tinto, the world's second- largest miner.

The case involves four employees of Rio in its Shanghai office, who face years of imprisonment if convicted of trade secrets infringement and bribery.

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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