Labour MEPs: Government must stop blocking EU action to tackle steel crisis

Labour MEPs are calling on the UK government to stop blocking EU action to tackle the steel crisis.

Among the measures British ministers are thwarting are reform of the EU’s trade defence measures, reforms that would enable more to be done to stop the dumping of steel by countries like China – selling it at below the price it can fetch at home, or exporting it at below the cost of production.

MEPs are debating the issue this evening, following a European Commission statement on anti-dumping measures and their effect on the EU steel industry.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, will tell MEPs:

“On October 12, the UK government oversaw the end of steelmaking after 175 years on Teesside, with the loss of 2,000 direct jobs and many more in the supply chain. Labour MEPs don’t want to see the same happening in Scunthorpe or South Wales.

“Let’s make no bones about it; the European steel sector is in crisis. Sites are closing with thousands of well paid, high skilled jobs lost. We’ve had enough summits and high level meetings – now we need to see action.

“It is clear the global steel market is saturated with overcapacity – especially in China – driving down prices to unsustainable levels. We need to modernise and strengthen our trade defence tools to make them more effective: acting quicker, tackling social and environmental dumping and opening them up to give the workforce the ability to initiate complaints.

“Today, I am calling on the UK government to stop hiding behind their excuses for inaction, stop blocking the vital reform of EU trade defence measures, and recognise that steel is one of the strategic foundation industries on which all our manufacturing is based.”

Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, adds:

“The government must do more to stand up for our steel industry, and work with other EU countries and the Commission to bring in stronger anti-dumping measures. The majority of steel dumped by China ends up in Britain, and it needs to be made easier for affected communities to bring complaints against these Chinese companies for dumping.

“And it’s not just those employed in the steel industry and their families who are affected – for every job lost in a major plant, several more in the local economy are at risk. For the sake of communities up and down the country, we need action, real action, and we need it now.”