China may further cut or even remove rebates for value-added tax on steel exports to curb overseas sales amid disputes arising from the country's mounting trade surplus, according to a China Business News report, citing China Iron and Steel Association executive chairman Luo Bingsheng. The mainland is facing the threat of action by trading partners after exports of steel products surged 81 per cent to 28.59 million tonnes in the first nine months last year from a year earlier. The European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries, which represents Europe's iron and steel-making industry, might launch an anti-dumping suit against China after steel imports from the country more than tripled to 3.8 million tonnes during the period, confederation director-general Gordon Moffat said last week. 'Any further move by China to curtail exports will be positive for the regional market but could be negative in China in the short term,' CLSA analyst Scott Laprise said, adding export tax rebates could drop to as low as zero probably around April or May. 'China has gradually reduced value-added tax rebates for steel products in the past few years, from 13 per cent to 11 per cent and to 8 per cent in September last year, so it won't surprise the market if it cuts them again,' Core Pacific-Yamaichi analyst Michelle Leung Wing-cheung said. A rebate reduction would erode margins on exports but Hong Kong-listed steelmakers would feel little impact as they obtained only a small part of their revenue from overseas, she said. Exports accounted for only 9 per cent of Maanshan Iron & Steel's first-half revenue last year and 20 per cent of Angang New Steel's.