Text of oral question tabled on steel industry

13-Nov-2015 @ 12:0

Ashley Fox Ashley Fox

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Vicky Ford Vicky Ford

Here is the text of the oral question tabled by Conservative MEPs on measures being taken to tackle the situation in the steel industry

The European steel industry is facing unprecedented pressures following the financial crash of 2008, and large scale job losses have been at the forefront of political debate across Europe over recent weeks.

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

While the pressures on the steel industry are founded upon a number of different factors, such as the relative strength of European currencies and the high cost of energy, we cannot ignore the fact that the industry is facing unfair competition and anticompetitive market behaviour.

As a result of slowing domestic consumption Chinese steel exports have risen by 28% in the first six months of the year, flooding the world market with steel that is often sold overseas at a loss. This is dramatically destabilising the global steel market and the flow of trade, risking European steel manufacturing as a whole which accounts for 330,000 jobs.

Added to these difficulties, a cap on the compensation governments can provide for the indirect costs of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme - passed through in prices by electricity generators - means steel plants are also paying for a proportion of ETS costs associated with any electricity they buy. 

Is the commission closely monitoring existing anti-dumping measures on China so that these could be increased, should large scale dumping and anticompetitive behaviour be proven? 

Has the Commission had direct contact with the Chinese government in view of reaching an amicable resolution of this issue?

Can the commission look urgently into means of allowing much faster state aid clearance for energy intensive industries to help offset these additional pressures?

Does the Commission feel that the existing state aid framework is robust enough to cope with the current issues facing the steel sector in the EU? Do member states require improved guidance on what intervention could be permitted?

 

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