25th November 2015 

Conservative MEPs have welcomed recognition from the European Commission that stronger anti-dumping policies are needed to deal with the situation in the steel industry.

The comments came in a debate in the European Parliament on the steel industry which was added to the week's agenda following pressure from Conservative MEPs

The debate was an opportunity for the Commission to make a statement on measures being taken to ensure that British steel is able to compete on an equal footing on the global market.

The Commissioner for the Internal Market, Elzbieta Bienkowska, said she recognised that stronger policies were needed to deal with the allegations of "dumping", where the EU is flooded with cheap imports of Chinese steel, threatening domestically produced steel.

She also confirmed that various trade defence instruments were being used, such as anti-subsidy measures and registration of imports.

Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, and Industry Spokesman Ashley Fox said : "Conservative MEPs have led calls for the European Commission to take action against abuses of the laws of the market place, and I am pleased that we were able to secure this vital debate.

"This month's meeting of EU ministers, called for by UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid, showed strong agreement on the need to take concrete actions, including speeding up investigations into unfair trade practices.   

"The current situation in the steel industry is threatening jobs and livelihoods, and we will continue to press for EU action to ensure that anti-competitive behaviour is stopped, and that our steel industry is able to compete fairly in the global market".

International Trade Spokesman, Emma McClarkin added: "This debate was much needed, but we now urgently need the European Commission to take action, by making sure we are using all the anti-dumping measures that that the EU has at its disposal.

 

"I have been pressing the Commission to investigate whether there is scope to add to anti-dumping duties on steel that are already in place.

 

"The EU is often slow to react in these situations, but the UK steel sector simply doesn't have time to wait".

 

Internal Market Spokesman, Vicky Ford commented: "Some member states want to give more support to energy intensive industries, but they need to have state aid clearance.

 

"I am not asking the Commission to bend or break competition rules, but a decision needs to be made urgently.

 

"Competitiveness in this industry is key, but we need to use all the tools in our toolbox and act together, quickly".

 

"Decisions in this sector have long-lasting consequences, moth-balling is not an option as one can't just switch a blast furnace back on.  We need to make key decisions and they need to be made fast."

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