Labour MEPs tell China: Stop dumping cheap steel if you want full Market Economy Status

The European Parliament will this week call on the European Commission and EU ministers to block full Market Economy Status (MES) for China unless it stops dumping cheap steel on to the market.

On Thursday, MEPs from across the political spectrum are set to unite to vote for a resolution calling on the Commission and Council not to grant MES to China until the Chinese economy is one where supply, demand and prices of goods and services are determined by the market.

Meanwhile on Friday, trade ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss a long-delayed reform of EU trade defence instruments, reforms that have been blocked for two years by a number of national governments led by the UK.

The dumping of cheap Chinese steel – selling it at below the price it can fetch at home, or exporting it at below the cost of production – is threatening the future of Europe’s steel industry, with plants across Britain under threat.

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

“The more China dumps cheap steel onto the market, the more Europe’s jobs and industry are threatened. We must stand firm in the face of this unfair competition.

“Whilst valuing the economic benefits of greater cooperation with China, the world’s largest trading nation, Europe must not be a soft touch. China is not a market economy and should not be recognised as one when calculating anti-dumping sanctions. Granting them Market Economy Status in the current circumstances would tighten the noose around the UK steel industry’s neck.

“We urgently need to modernise our trade defence measures and should not be afraid to use all the tools at our disposal to protect European industries against dumping and other harmful trade practices. The British government must realise that the current crisis is linked to their inaction at EU level.

“The Commission and governments – especially our own – must listen and act, and do so now, while we still have a steel industry.”

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

“Labour MEPs have long been calling for action to ensure China complies with the rules, enabling our industries to compete on a level playing field.

“My constituents, steel workers on Teesside, know only too well the damage dumping is doing. Our trade defence instruments are insufficient to deal with Chinese industrial over-capacity – we need Europe’s ministers to work together to pressure China to cut excess capacity and halt the dumping of cheap steel if it wants full Market Economy Status.

“Workers, their families and communities cannot continue living under this cloud of uncertainty. Unless action is taken, there may be no industry left to save.

“This Friday, when trade ministers will meet in Brussels, the UK government should stop blocking the crucial reforms to EU trade defence instruments which our industries rely on.”