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China backs off top-down approach to steel output cuts

Beijing

PRODUCTION cuts in China's mammoth steel sector will vary from mill to mill next autumn and winter, said an environmental ministry official, as the country shifts away from a "one size fits all" approach to fighting pollution.

That comes after China's state council earlier this month said the 82 cities required to take special anti-smog measures over autumn and winter would be able to draw up their own bespoke plans for those steps.

"This year, production curbs (in the steel industry) will definitely be differentiated based on the emission level at each steel mill," Liu Bingjiang, director of the air environmental management department at the Ministry of Environment and Ecology (MEE), said at a conference on Saturday.

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Industrial plants in the steel, cement and primary aluminium sectors in 28 northern cities were last winter ordered to cut as much as 50 per cent of their production capacity as part of the government's years-long "war on pollution".

But some local officials simply imposed blanket production suspensions on all industrial enterprises regardless of their emission levels, stoking public discontent.

The MEE said in May that it planned to end the "one size fits all" approach to fighting pollution. REUTERS