8th February 2016
News that the European Union could open new anti-dumping investigations into Chinese steel products has been welcomed Conservative MEPs, although they are critical it has taken Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom three months to respond to their calls for action.
Ms Malmstrom has reportedly written to Beijing's Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng complaining that price drops of 50 per cent for certain Chinese steel products far exceed the fall in raw material and energy prices.
She states that the European Commission has received multiple complaints from European steel producers and urges China to urgently reduce overcapacity, adding that new probes may follow.
Conservative MEPs wrote to Ms Malmstrom and EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska last October calling on the Commission to take immediate action to help the steel sector, but only recently received a reply.
European Conservative's International Trade Spokesman Emma McClarkin said: "The crisis in the steel industry is moving at a fast pace but the Commission has been moving too slowly. I am relieved that now it is finally waking up to the issue.
"We need to update our trade defence instruments, which have been stuck in the Council for too long, as well as imposing measures where there is a 'threat of injury'. Sadly for the steel industry, that injury has already been sorely felt."
Conservative leader in the European Parliament Ashley Fox stressed the importance of British steel producers being able to compete on an equal international footing and called on the Commission to act against any proven cases of anti-competitive behaviour and dumping.
"This intervention by Ms Malmstrom, albeit limited, is welcome but we need to see it translated into effective action as quickly as possible," he said.
Read the Conservative MEPs' letter of October 30, 2015, at http://bit.ly/1NHC8tk