Conservative MEPs: Supporting the British steel industry

26-Nov-2015 @ 01:00

No items found. No items found. No items found.

The Background

Conservative MEPs: Supporting the British steel industry

The British steel industry is facing unprecedented pressures following the financial crash of 2008, and - as in the rest of Europe - large scale job losses and closures have taken place. In the UK this has included the closure of the SSI plant in Redcar and job losses at plants operated by Tata Steel.

With consumption around 25% lower than before the crisis, reduced demand has been exacerbated by wider global challenges, which are now putting the industry in a perilous position.

Although there are many factors, such as the relative strength of European currencies and high energy costs, we cannot ignore the fact that the industry is facing unfair competition from cheap imports - primarily from China - in a practice known as "dumping”.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid and the rest of the UK government have shown leadership in Europe to deal with the situation, including successfully lobbying for an emergency meeting of senior European ministers to discuss the pressures faced.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister has announced further assistance, including proposals to provide relief to steel from the cost of renewables policy by the end of the year, and paying over £50m in compensation for energy costs to date.

Conservative MEPs are and will continue to be at the forefront of demands to help the British steel industry.

What We Want

We want to make sure that British steel is competing on an equal international footing, which is currently not possible due to the unintended consequences of EU climate policy (emissions caps and renewables obligations), as well as anticompetitive behaviour and dumping by Chinese exporters.

We are not calling for an interventionist approach to give steel an unfair advantage, but we want the laws of the marketplace to be properly enforced, giving our industry the opportunity to compete on an equal footing in the global market.

These are our three key priorities:

Action to tackle illegal dumping

We want to see EU-level action on anti-dumping measures which support the UK's steel sector against the rapid rise in "dumped" imports, and we are urging the European Commission to speed up its investigation process and to take action where necessary.

Tackling high energy costs

We want full implementation of the Energy Intensive Industry Compensation Package in advance of April 2016.
The steel industry is still paying 70% of the policy costs that the full Package aims to address.

Boosting investment 

We’re asking the Commission whether EU countries need more guidance on what financial intervention could be permitted under existing rules to support energy intensive industries.

What We've Done

• We’ve secured a debate in Strasbourg to discuss the situation in the steel industry, where the Commission backed our calls for stronger anti-dumping procedures.

• We've called for an emergency debate in the European Parliament on the situation in the steel industry. Regrettably a socialist-led coalition blocked our request, but we will continue to call for the matter to be raised in Parliament.

Watch Ashley Fox's speech in Brussels here.

• We've used committee meetings of the European Parliament to question top EU officials about what actions they are taking to tackle illegal Chinese dumping.

See Trade Spokesman Emma McClarkin questioning Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

Here's Internal Market Spokesman Vicky Ford raising the issue of steel with the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Elzbieta Bienkowska:

• We've written to the Commissioners for Trade and for the Internal Market clearly setting out our concerns and our key requests.
Read the text of the letter here

• We've tabled a formal parliamentary question to the European Commission setting out our concerns and our priorities.
Read the full text of the oral question here

« Back