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UK opposes Chinese steel anti-dumping plans

11 Feb 2016 18:42 GMT
UK opposes Chinese steel anti-dumping plans

London, 11 February (Argus) — The UK government will not support the EU's proposals to increase tariffs on Chinese steel imports, UK business secretary Sajid Javid said yesterday.

Building a wall of protectionist measures around the UK may hinder the competitiveness of the country's manufacturing industries, which rely on their ability to procure cheap steel, Javid said.

Prime minister David Cameron backed Javid. "We need to get behind public procurement for steel" and focus on reducing energy bills for steelmakers, he said.

But the government maintained that it welcomed the European Commission's introduction of a provisional 13pc anti-dumping duty on rebar imports from China on 29 January, and shares "the concerns of the UK industry that these duties were lower than needed to protect them fully from the harm caused by unfair trade".

Just five days earlier, the UK government sent a joint letter to the EU — in conjunction with France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium and Luxembourg —calling for further support of the UK and EU steel industries, following the introduction of the 13pc anti-dumping duty on imports of Chinese rebar, which steel industry associations deem insufficient to deter Chinese dumping.

More than 5,000 people from EU member states will protest against the dumping of Chinese steel in Europe in Brussels on 15 February, in a march organised by European steel association Eurofer and Aegis Europe.

Global steelmaker Tata Steel confirmed today that it will join the demonstration — its UK operations have suffered severely as a result of the influx of cheap Chinese steel.

"We are not asking for special treatment. Instead, we are asking for the commission to stand up for fair trade and to give European steelmakers a chance to compete on a level playing field," Tata Steel Europe chief executive Karl Koehler said.

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