April 13, 2018 / 11:06 AM / 5 months ago

China warns 12 steel firms on environment, safety, compliance issues

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s industry ministry on Friday said it has ordered 12 steel mills to come back into compliance following breaches of environmental, safety and other regulations, while it has removed another 19 companies from a qualified enterprises list.

The breaches range from excessive pollution at Hebei Rongxin Iron and Steel Group to a failure by Shanxi Xintai Iron and Steel to submit a self-inspection report on time, according to a document published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Neither steel company could be reached for comment outside of normal business hours on Friday evening.

The MIIT has been stepping up its attempts to regulate the sprawling steel industry in China, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, while the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and local authorities have also intensified inspections and imposed restrictions on production in key steel cities.

“The inclusion on the rectification list (for the breaches) is a reminder and warning to the company,” MIIT said.

“If the company rectifies the situation within one year, its withdrawal from the list will be studied.”

Explaining its methodology in a separate document, the MIIT said the system was equivalent to issuing yellow and red cards to offenders in soccer, adding that it has been working to “eliminate blind spots” in the steel sector since 2013.

Yellow and red cards are issued to players in soccer matches to warn players on rules violations. A yellow card is a caution and a red card signifies ejection from a match.

Some of the 19 companies taken off the list of qualified enterprises were removed because they have not been producing for more than a year. Others have been incorporated into other firms or carried out capacity swaps, according to the document.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Additional reporting by David Stanway in SHANGHAI; Editing by Tom Hogue

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