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China lifts restrictions on steel import
Updated: 2004-12-11 17:07

China has announced it has lifted restrictions on the import of steel, natural rubber, wool, acrylic fibers and plywood according to its obligation to the World Trade Organisation, state media said.

"All eligible enterprises can import the five commodities (from now on)," Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry of Commerce as saying on Saturday.

The products are open to free trade as from Saturday, the third anniversary of China's entrance of the WTO, according to its agreement with the trade body in 2001, said the Ministry of Commerce website.

Before the relaxation, the Chinese government authorised only a limited number of companies to act as agents for restricted import and export of these commodities.

The restriction of timber import was already cancelled in 1999, Xinhua said.

China's steel product imports were down 15.17 percent to 23.93 million tons in the first three quarters of this year compared with the same period of last year, according to earlier state media reports.

Its steel product exports jumped 67 percent to 8.63 million tons during the same period.

China Iron and Steel Association officials said its steel imports would continue to be greater than exports in the next few years.

China's strong demand for steel amid a construction boom, together with the lifting of the import restrictions, is expected to boost its imports.

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