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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jim Dyke or Trevor Francis 202/482-4883
December 19, 2001   Curt Cultice 202/482-3809


The second High-Level Meeting on Steel concluded in Paris with meaningful progress in discussions among steel-producing countries on addressing the problem of global steel-making overcapacity. The meeting at the OECD in Paris, France was attended by 40 countries representing virtually all of the world's steelmaking capacity.

Upon hearing of the results of the meeting, Commerce Secretary Don Evans said, "One of the goals of President Bush's steel initiative is to engage in discussions with our trading partners on reducing inefficient excess steelmaking capacity worldwide. This is a significant step toward implementing this goal. I am also pleased that the participants reached consensus to discuss greater disciplines on subsidies and other market-distorting practices affecting the steel market, implementing another part of the President's steel initiative."

Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Grant Aldonas, who led the U.S. delegation to the meeting, said that, "We are extremely pleased by the frank assessments the participating countries made regarding excess capacity in their steel industries. The participants followed through on their commitment, made at our first meeting in September, to consult with
their industry and forecast prospective cuts in excess capacity. This is, however, just the first step in tackling a problem that has been with us for a long time."

"The participating countries reiterated their view that overcapacity in the steel industry is a global problem. We will all have to contribute to the solution. The shortest route to that goal is letting market forces prevail in the steel industry worldwide," said Aldonas.

Because not all of the countries submitted information on their respective steel industries, the participating countries agreed to meet again at the beginning of February, 2002 to discuss other new information, as well as related issues discussed during the second meeting. In addition, another meeting will be held in April, 2002 to develop further the high-level group's work on the issue of excess capacity based on the conditions of the world steel market at that time.

The issues discussed at the OECD meeting and the conclusions reached by the participating countries are summarized in a communique that was accepted by all of the countries. The text of the communique can be found at: www.oecd.org.


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