China steel mills back to collective bargaining table?
According to a report in the China Daily, Chinese steel mills have been told they can sign separate iron ore agreements with the world's top three miners.
This is the first time the China Iron and Steel Association has allowed its members to negotiate directly with iron ore miners before a nationwide benchmark price has been agreed.
"Considering the operating pressure and difficulties of steelmakers, they can now talk with the big three miners and buy iron ore at provisional prices under CISA's regulations," Luo Bingsheng, vice-chairman of the industry group, was quoted as saying.
Despite allowing Chinese steel mills to sign separate purchasing agreements with Australia's Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) and Brazil's Vale, Mr Luo insisted long-term contract price negotiations were still under way. They "offer a price we don't accept, that doesn't mean the end of negotiations. The price talks are still ongoing," Mr Luo said.
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