March 6, 2018 / 12:17 PM / a year ago

Deal with excess steel capacity in global forum, OECD says

FILE PHOTO: Jose Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, speaks during the presentation of a new OECD Economic Survey of Brazil, in Brasilia, Brazil February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

PARIS (Reuters) - Excess steel capacity should be dealt with in a global forum for the problem to avoid an escalation of trade disputes, OECD chief Angel Gurria said on Tuesday following the Trump administration’s plans to introduce import tariffs.

Leaders of Group of 20 economic powers set up the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity in September 2016 and charged the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to facilitate its work.

“As shown repeatedly in the past, we need global solutions to global problems – and that is exactly why the Global Forum on Steel Excess capacity exists. But it must accelerate its efforts,” Gurria said in a statement.

He added that the forum, which includes G20 and OECD members, needed to take “swift and tangible action in 2018”, noting a ministerial meeting was planned in June.

Global steel producing capacity eased 1.0 percent last year due to a reduction in some Asian producers, but still far exceeds demand, the OECD’s steel committee said separately on Tuesday.

China, the world’s top steel producer, said last month it aimed to meet its target for reducing steel production capacity two years earlier than planned.

“This modest adjustment still falls short of alleviating global excess capacity - demand would take more than 30 years to absorb the current level of excess capacity,” the committee said in a statement after a meeting in Paris.

“New investment projects continue to take place around the world and global steelmaking capacity could increase by 2.0 percent between 2018 and 2020 in the absence of any further closures,” the committee said.

The steel committee is a long-standing body of mainly OECD members separate from the global forum.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Michel Rose

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