The Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity Ministerial Meeting, held in Paris last week within the G20 framework, concluded with a consensus report, agreed by 33 member countries, and including initial conclusions on the revision process that will allow for the identification and removal of subsidies and support mechanisms that contribute to excess capacity.

The report “constitutes a solid first step in the application of the principles and recommendations that members agreed to last year during the German chairmanship” and recognises “the need to take steps leading to further capacity reductions.”

According to Miguel Braun, Argentine Secretary of Trade and the meeting’s chair, at a press conference afterwards, “It is very important that we arrived at a consensus.” Braun stressed that "this is a forum that makes decisions by consensus and taking into account the opinion of all the members." He said that, in the current global context, "it is a very positive signal regarding the possibility of working together to solve the challenges the global community faces.”

The meeting took place at the headquarters of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and consolidated the progress made at working group meetings in March and June, with a view to gradually removing subsidies and other forms of government support that distort the market.

“There is growth in the demand, but the level of growth is relatively modest. This means that there has to be a focus on reducing capacity, not just waiting for the demand to catch up with the capacity,” said José Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD. “The numbers are telling us that we have to look at the question of capacity very seriously. This is perhaps the most important reason why the political leaders of the G20 decided to have the forum,” he added.

By applying “the spirit and the letter of the Hangzhou and Hamburg declarations”, the report – which will be submitted at the Buenos Aires G20 Leaders’ Summit on 30 November and 1 December – concludes that “international co-operation is possible and desirable in addressing our most pressing global problems.”

The Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity was formally established in Berlin in December 2016 and has met twice this year, in Paris on 7 and 8 March, and in Buenos Aires on 4 and 5 June.

The forum’s progress report will be submitted for consideration by heads of State at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires on 30 November and 1 December.