Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Philip Hammond discusses steel industry concerns with Chinese minister

Published 09/04/2016

Philip Hammond met Wang Yi en route to the G7 foreign ministers' meeting
Philip Hammond met Wang Yi en route to the G7 foreign ministers' meeting

Philip Hammond has travelled to Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart and raise the issue of over-capacity in steel production.

The Foreign Secretary met Wang Yi en route to Hiroshima for the G7 foreign ministers' meeting, and said the discussion had provided the opportunity to talk about "issues of mutual concern".

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."

He added that they had also spoken about the UK's continued concerns over the case of five Hong Kong booksellers who were detained by Chinese authorities.

Mr Hammond continued: "Our diplomatic and economic relationship with China is strong and delivering benefits for both countries.

"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 of our global partnership in action include new security and peacekeeping dialogues, a new fund on antimicrobial resistance, and co-operation on Syria, Iran and North Korea."

After travelling to Hiroshima on his tour of east Asia, the Foreign Secretary will visit Vietnam.

The UK steel industry was thrown into crisis last month when Indian conglomerate Tata made a shock decision to sell its loss-making UK business, threatening thousands of redundancies.

Last week Business Secretary Sajid Javid flew back from a meeting in Mumbai - at which he pressed Tata officials for more time over the sale of its steel plants - to spend hours at Port Talbot in talks with unions and staff.

He cut short the trip to visit Port Talbot amid union claims he had "taken his eye off the ball" as the UK steel industry crisis deepened.

Mr Javid had been in Australia on a business trip when Tata made the announcement.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph