China takeover of Serbian steel mill alarms European Steel Association
Belgium, Brussels: China and Serbia signed the agreement over the sale of Serbia’s largest steel producer, Zelezara Smederevo, to Hebei Iron & Steel.
The purchase of a steel works in an EU candidate country by a state-owned Chinese enterprise has raised concern about unfair competition from state-backed enterprises in China, warns EUROFER.
“Foreign investment is genuinely welcome in the EU and EU neighbourhood, but only under fair, undistorted market conditions,” said Axel Eggert, Director General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER).
“However, in this instance, a steel firm is being invested in by an undertaking – Hebei Iron & Steel – which is directly owned and run by the Chinese government. Zelezara Smederevo was already subject to an ongoing National Restructuring Programme as part of Serbia’s EU accession procedure. The subsequent purchase by a Chinese state owned enterprise undermines both efforts to combat global steel overcapacity and the free and fair conduct of the market – as sought by the G7” emphasised Mr Eggert.