UK

UK steel: Hammond urges Chinese minister over production

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi Image copyright AFP
Image caption Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says he welcomed the potential interest of Chinese companies in investment in UK steel-making

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has discussed the issue of over-capacity in steel production with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing.

Mr Hammond met Wang Yi on his way to Hiroshima for the G7 foreign ministers' meeting and had an opportunity to talk about "issues of mutual concern".

China's steelmakers are accused of dumping excess on the global market.

This is considered a factor in Tata Steel's decision to sell its UK plants, including Port Talbot in south Wales.

Mr Hammond said: "I urged China to accelerate its efforts to reduce levels of steel production.

"The UK's focus is on finding a long-term sustainable future for steel making at Port Talbot and across the UK, and I welcomed the potential interest of Chinese companies in investment in UK steel making."

The BBC understands a deal to save another of Tata's plants in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, could be signed as soon as Monday.

'Global partnership'

Mr Hammond added that he and his counterpart had also spoken about the UK's continued concerns over the case of five Hong Kong booksellers who were detained by Chinese authorities.

"Our diplomatic and economic relationship with China is strong and delivering benefits for both countries," he added.

"We are building on the global partnership established during last year's successful state visit by President Xi Jinping, by working together closely on international challenges and strengthening our trade and investment links."

Examples included new security and peacekeeping dialogues, a new fund on antimicrobial resistance, and co-operation on Syria, Iran and North Korea, he said.

After Hiroshima, Mr Hammond will travel to Vietnam on his tour of Asia.

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