Steel: MEPs back Labour paper calling on the EU to defend industries against unfair trading practices

MEPs on the European Parliament industry, research and energy committee voted today for a Labour report calling for the EU to take all necessary measures to defend European industries against uncompetitive practices, including the dumping of cheap steel into the UK.

The report calls on the European Union to prevent trading partners from unfairly undercutting European industries, and says the EU should act to stop the granting of market economy status to China, one of the biggest contributors of dumping into EU markets.

Theresa Griffin MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on industry, research and energy, said:

“While the Tories have failed yet again to think long term about UK industrial strategy and how we’re going to support our local industries, Labour MEPs have for years raised concerns about the crisis facing the steel industry and repeatedly called for a strengthening of EU trade defence measures.

“Our report outlines a new forward-looking and innovative strategy on trade and investment, including measures to tackle the effects that anti-competitive practices are having on EU markets, especially the dumping of steel into UK markets form China.

“This strategy seeks to do more than just support UK industry – it is about ensuring workers can put food on the table, communities maintain thriving economies and industries are able to compete on a level playing field.”

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, said:

“My constituents, steel workers on Teesside, know only too well the damage that dumping is doing. Our trade defence instruments are insufficient to deal with Chinese industrial over-capacity. We have been waiting years for our own national governments to agree the modernisation of these vital tools.

“As UK ministers cry crocodile tears for our steel industry at home, abroad they give valuable contracts to Chinese investors and block the tools needed to allow a fair global market.

“We urgently need a proper manufacturing strategy in the UK and our trade relations are a key pillar in that agenda. Today’s vote shows MEPs are hearing the concerns of industry and the unions and acting on them.”

David Martin MEP, Socialists and Democrats Group spokesperson on international trade, added:

“In Britain, the Tory government’s recent relationship with China has been too cosy. They rolled out the red carpet last October and gave President Xi Jinping a royal welcome. Now it appears they are willing to sacrifice British industry to please their new friends.

“China is clearly an important partner and we should welcome our continued economic cooperation – but Europe cannot roll over in the face of unfair trade practices that are damaging our industrial communities.

“The UK government must realise its inaction on trade has a direct link to the crisis we see back home.”