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Minister: China wants more say over iron prices

Beijing (AP) — China affirmed its determination Thursday to tighten control over its huge steel industry and press foreign miners to cut iron ore prices, announcing a three-year ban on new mills and saying it wants more influence over costs.

Industry Minister Li Yizhong complained that “disorderly competition” has pushed up iron ore prices, caused a glut of production capacity and caused “serious losses.”

China’s steel industry is the world’s largest but has failed to translate that into clout in negotiating iron ore prices. Beijing put a state-sanctioned group in charge of negotiating this year’s supply contracts but talks are deadlocked six weeks after the last agreements expired June 30.

“I believe China should have some say in the international trade of iron ore, and I believe our influence is not enough,” Li said at a news conference.

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