A STEEL crisis summit has agreed on the need to tackle oversupply that is crippling the industry but failed to agree measures to tackle the crisis.

Business secretary Sajid Javid tried to put a positive spin on the talks, saying China - largely blamed for the problems - had committed to deal with its overcapacity of steel production.

However, China said its production actually hit a record high last month as rising prices, and profits, encouraged mills that had been shut or suspended to resume production.

Britain and the US urged Beijing to cut overcapacity or face possible trade action from other countries.

Asked what steps the Chinese government would take following this week's talks in Brussels, Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said: "China has already done more than enough. What more do you want us to do?

"Steel is the food of industry, the food of economic development. At present, the major problem is that countries that need food have a poor appetite so it looks like there's too much food."

China rejected suggestions that it subsidised its loss-making steel companies, and the meeting ended without any formal agreement.

Nevertheless, Mr Javid claimed China was "committing to do something about it and I think that's a very positive step forward".

Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel, said: "We appear to be no closer to finding international action to put in place solutions. This is a global problem which requires a global solution to remove current over-capacity and time is a luxury we don't have."

Earlier, China's official news agency said that blaming the country for the global steel industry's problems was a "lame and lazy excuse for protectionism".

Xinhua said in an English-language commentary piece: "Blaming other countries is always an easy, sure-fire way for politicians to whip up a storm over domestic economic woes, but finger-pointing and protectionism are counter-productive. The last thing the world needs is a trade war over this issue. Far more jobs will be lost than gained if protectionism prevails."

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told the meeting the steel crisis was "now life or death for many companies", but that tariffs were "only a short-term bandage", adding: "Healing the sector's wounds requires sustained international cooperation leading to effective reform."

Further talks are expected to take place soon.

In the meantime, Mr Javid said parties interested in Tata's UK assets, including its pipe mills in Hartlepool, had started to come forward: "It's too early to say much about them at this stage but the important thing is, as we said all along, we will do everything we can to help with that sales process. The steel workers of Britain deserve nothing less."

The business secretary said that EY had been appointed to act as financial advisers on behalf of the Government, which was "committed to doing all it can to ensure a sustainable future for the UK steel industry".

Tata has also appointed Standard Chartered bank as an additional adviser.

The Indian group said on Monday that Bimlendra Jha has been appointed to the new role of chief executive of Tata Steel UK.

He is executive chairman of the company's Long Products business in Europe and oversaw the sale of plants in the North-East to Greybull Capital earlier this month.