July 29, 2008 / 4:16 AM / 11 years ago

China urges measures to keep coal, steel at home

SHANGHAI, July 29 (Reuters) - Higher tariffs and an export quota system are not doing enough to keep Chinese coal and steel supplies at home, the customs administration said, saying the system should be improved.

Chinese companies, facing a domestic shortage, should also establish overseas coal supply bases and ensure stable supply by signing long-term contracts, customs said in one report, originally dated July 8 but reposted on its website (www.customs.gov.cn).

China remained a net exporter of coal in the first half of the year, but the trend is expected to reverse as the government is determined to keep more coal supplies at home. Coal exports in the first half of the year rose 10 percent from a year earlier, official customs data shows.

High international steel prices helped lift steel exports to a 10-month high of 5.56 million tonnes in May. China exported 5.22 million tonnes of steel in June.

“The fast rise in international steel product prices has weakened the effect of higher export tariffs,” said the report.

The report also suggested that steel mills should export higher value steel products and lower energy consumption and pollution. (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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