Britain’s steelmakers are urging the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid to spearhead immediate European action on anti-dumping measures at today’s EU Competitiveness Council, or risk the damage caused to the sector in the UK spreading across the continent.
While welcoming the Business Secretary’s leadership and success in calling the meeting, UK Steel believes the Secretary of State must now press for immediate action to speed up efforts to prevent unfair dumping.
The call comes as latest data forecasts that Chinese dumping of Rebar onto the UK market is set to account for more than half the UK market of 720,000 tonnes in 2015.
In particular, UK Steel is calling for the EU to follow the example of the US where action on dumping takes weeks.
In contrast, in the EU cases can take many months to be accepted and initiated, and then a further nine months before even a provisional decision is taken.
A speeding up of the process is not only in the interests of the steel industry, but for other stakeholders to help remove months of uncertainty.
The recent decision by the EU to extend import tariffs on wire rod at 24% for a further five years shows that action on unfair trade can work as there has been a significant reduction in Chinese imports of wire rod into the EU.
Director of UK Steel, Gareth Stace commented: “The US and other countries have already moved to prevent cheap Chinese imports distorting their markets, and now the EU must do the same and, do so quickly.
“The UK must seize the moment and encourage a rapid response in Brussels if we’re to prevent large scale problems for steel makers spreading in Britain and across the continent.”
The call to tackle unfair trade is one of the five key asks by UK Steel to address the current crisis:
- Fully implement the Energy Intensive Industry Compensation Package, ahead of April 2016. The sector is currently still paying 70% of the policy costs that the full package aims to address
- Continue to back EU-level action on anti-dumping measures which support the UK steel sector against the rapid rise in global imports
- Support local content in major construction projects.
- Bring Business Rates for capital intensive firms in line with their competitors in France and Germany. UK companies are currently paying between 5-10 times more than EU competitors
- Fully consider derogation requests from the sector on a realistic timetable to meet increased commitments under the Industrial Emissions Directive. Under current proposals, the cost of meeting revised permits for the sector are estimated at up to £500m by 2019