Chinese exports to Latin America dominated the recent 26th Brazilian Steel Conference.

Martin Berardi, president of Alacero, said the growth of China in the Latin American market was impressive. With the world experiencing steel overcapacity in the region of 720Mt (417Mt in China) he said that Chinese subsidised steel was threatening thousands of Latin American jobs.

Alacero says that Latin America is receiving increasing amounts of steel under unfair trading conditions that don’t comply with WTO rules. China, it is argued, is displacing local steel producers and the metal-mechanic value chain.

When compared to five years ago, when imported steel from China accounted for just 6% of Latin American steel consumption, today’s figure is more than double that amount (13%).

Berardi said that imported steel from China was severely hurting intra-regional trade.

According to Alacero, “Just 10 years ago, Argentina had an imbalance favouring Brazil by US$5.5 billion. In 2015, this imbalance decreased to US$1.1 billion. During the same period, the Argentine imbalance favouring China grew from US$2 billion to US$9.2 billion.”

Berardi said that other countries outside of Latin America are more determined to enforce WTO rules, arguing that there are 39 anti-dumping actions in force against China related to steel products in the NAFTA region, in South and Central America there are only 15.

Berardi said that China should not be recognised as a market economy because Chinese companies do not operate under market rules – they respond to a centrally planned economy.