He said the darkest time for the domestic steel industry is over.
After successive losses for months, the industry will recover because of increasing market demand in the fourth quarter, he said.
"The iron ore price is taking a declining path over the long term," said Li Xinchuang, head of the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute during the conference.
"However, the scale of decline is narrowing," he added.
China's steel companies' costs for imported iron ore dropped by 18.43 percent during the first nine months, according to the association.
By the end of October, the country had imported 607.12 million metric tons of iron ore in total this year, up 8.9 percent year-on-year, customs figures show.