Steel companies lose export tax rebates
Domestic steel companies will no longer be handed tax rebates on exports of low-end steel billet and ingot products, the government ruled yesterday.
The State Council's ruling seeks to further curb the expansion of the steel and iron sector and to save the environment and money.
The sector consumes vast amounts of funds and energy resources.
At its executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, the State Council decided it was of "urgency to halt the blind expansion in the sector's production capacity."
Analysts said the measure is a continuation of the drive to protect the environment, saving resources and energy after the government decided to cut off the tax rebate on copper, aluminium and nickel exports in the last quarter of 2004.
Currently, the rebate rate on steel billet and ingot is 13 per cent.
Earlier reports indicated the gap between China's steel imports and exports narrowed last year. It imported 29.3 million tons of steel products down 7.87 million tons, or 21.2 per cent, year-on-year.
However, China's steel product exports leapt by 104.6 per cent or 6.06 million tons to 14.23 million tons last year from 2003. And nearly 60 per cent of exports were earned by low-value-added products such as ingot.
Meanwhile, the State Council urged local governments to use strong measures to further slow down the fast investment growth of fixed assets especially those injected through urban expansion and real estate.
"Curbing the overheated trend in fixed asset investment is very much related to stopping the blind expansion of steel," the State Council said. "The measures will sustain a stable and healthy development of China's economy."
Zhang Jianyu, a scholar from Tsinghua University, said the mea-sures are an integral part of China's macroeconomics-control efforts launched in the middle of 2003.
The State Council yesterday also warned government officials at various levels of problems occurring in China's social and economic development, but said the overall situation "is satisfying."
(China Daily 03/31/2005 page2)