It’s another morning of bad front pages for the UK government.
Both the Times and the Financial Times are splashing on accusations that Britain undermined efforts to protect Europe against imports of cheap Chinese steel.
Steel industry: UK is ringleader against China steel clampdown
Britain has been accused of deliberately undermining efforts to protect Europe’s steel industry from a deluge of unfairly cheap steel from China.
In an embarrassing development for the UK government, European steel industry has said Britain has been the ‘ringleader’ in a move to prevent higher tariffs being imposed on cheap Chinese steel imports.
Charles De Lusignan, spokesperson for the European Steel Association, has told Radio 4’s Today Programme that:
We have been talking about the lifting of the lesser duty rule in particular for a long time. The fact is that the UK has been blocking this.
They’re not the only member state, but they are certainly the ringleader in blocking the lifting of the lesser duty rule.
The Commission has been pushing to lift the lesser duty rule since 2013, De Lusignan continues, in an attempt to prevent the ‘dumping’ of steel on the European market.
The fact that the UK continues to block it means that when the government says its doing everything it takes to save the steel industry in the UK and in Europe It’s not. It’s simply not true.
Currently, the EU sets a tariff of up to 16% on dumped Chinese cold-rolled steel – a high-value product used to make car parts, household appliances and furniture . America, though, imposes fixed duties of over 200% on some steel products.
De Lusignan also insists that European steel workers are losing their jobs because Chinese steel mills are selling steel here for less than the cost of making it.
His comments echo points made to the Guardian last month by his boss, Axel Eggert, director general of the European Steel Association.
“The UK is the big opposing member state and is the driving force against the opposition of the lifting of the lesser duty rule, so it would be crucial that the UK would lift its opposition.”
Eggert was also surprised that the UK, which is “often closer to the US than the EU” did not share the US view on trade defence.
As he put it:
“Why doesn’t the US have such a strong position to implement fair trade and why does the EU not have this.”
Something for Sajid Javid to answer in Port Talbot today……
Source: Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2016/apr/01/tata-steel-crisis-uk-ringleader-china-sajid-javid-port-talbot-live