EU, US, Japan to extend cooperation on excess steel capacity

Trade representatives from the US, European Union and Japan Tuesday agreed to extend cooperation on excess steel capacity following China’s exit from the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, or GFSEC, late 2019.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, European commissioner for trade Phil Hogan, and Kajiyama Hiroshi, minister of economy, trade and industry for Japan, met in Washington Tuesday to discuss a number of trade issues, including industrial subsidies and ways to strengthen existing World Trade Organization rules on subsidies, according to a statement from the USTR’s office.

The future of the GFSEC has been clouded since China decided in October 2019 to end its participation.

The GFSEC was established in late 2016 at the instruction of leaders from the G20 group of wealthiest nations. The forum aims to gather information and report on the evolution of steel supply and demand conditions, steel production capacity, and government policies that lead to global overcapacity, including subsidies.

Global steel industry groups in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia in late October called on governments of steelmaking economies to step up efforts to effectively tackle persistent global excess capacity and to extend the forum.

In addition to the GFSEC, the US, EU and Japan have also agreed to continue to cooperate on reforming the World Trade Organization, including increasing WTO member’s compliance with existing WTO notification obligations and pressing advanced WTO members claiming developing country status to undertake full commitments in ongoing and future WTO negotiations, the USTR’s office said.

— Justine Coyne