China's Tangshan orders stricter emissions targets for heavy industry, power firms

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s top steelmaking city Tangshan ordered companies in the steel, coke and coal-fired power sectors to meet ultra-low emissions targets, the latest effort to curb air pollution.

Steel mills will be given until October to meet the targets, while coke producers and coal-fired power plants will have to meet them by September, according to a document issued by the Tangshan city government on Wednesday and reviewed by Reuters.

Factories that fail to meet the emission targets by the deadline will be shut for rectification.

Tangshan, a city in Hebei province, is home to 64 steelmakers and produced 91.2 million tonnes of crude steel in 2017, accounting for 11 percent of the country’s total output.

The city on Monday issued a plan to halve the number of its steel producers by 2020 and eliminate inefficient equipment to consolidate its steel sector and improve air quality.

The document issued on Wednesday also said companies that pass the emission checks before October will either be exempted from or ordered to implement fewer production restrictions during the winter of 2019-2020.

During the past winter, the city ordered steel mills to cut production by as much as 50 percent to meet politically important smog targets. It then extended the curbs until November though at a lower rate of between 10 to 15 percent.

Tangshan also said it will offer some fiscal support to companies that install clean air equipment before the end of the year in order to meet the emissions target.

“The ultra-low emission upgrade situation will be included as a key focus of environmental inspections...Emission readings at companies will be open for public supervision,” the document said.

The Tangshan government declined to comment on the document.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger