Conservative MEPs back UK Steel's call for EU action

21-Dec-2015 @ 12:30

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Conservative MEPs today backed UK Steel's call for immediate action by the European Union to help the British steel industry.

UK Steel director Gareth Stace, speaking following publication of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee's report into the crisis in the sector, said Europe-wide measures were needed now to tackle the dumping of cheap steel onto the market.

His comments echo the ongoing campaign by Conservative MEPs to persuade the EU to make greater use of existing anti-dumping duties against countries such as China to stem the tide of cheap imports.

Last week the European Parliament, with the support of Labour MEPs, approved a report calling for the introduction of a complex system of border measures on imported steel, aluminium and other base metals based on the amount of carbon emitted during their production.

This approach is not backed by the steel industry and Conservative MEPs argue it would be impossible to implement, may be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules and could prompt damaging protectionist retaliation from the Chinese, hitting a range of sectors.

Industry Spokesman Ashley Fox said: "UK Steel's comments today support what we have been saying for months, that the industry needs practical help now at a European level, not unrealistic and ideological measures like this carbon mechanism plan that have zero chance of becoming law.

"These are a distraction and I hope the European Commission will now heed Conservative MEPs' calls and come forward with robust anti-dumping measures that will enable our steel sector to compete on a level playing field."

International Trade Spokesman Emma McClarkin underlined that any action to combat unfair trading practices must be effective.

She said: "The British steel industry is facing unprecedented pressures and it is up to the Commission to act. However, this must be done within the established rules for it to work. There is very little point in embarking on action that is unworkable and instead we must play by the rules to encourage China to do the same.

"The way forward is to confirm, in a timely manner, that dumping is taking place and to take measures to prevent injury to our industry, such as anti-dumping duties."


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