Brussels, 19 October 2015 – On the day of the visit by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to the United Kingdom, the European Steel Association (EUROFER) reiterates the need for a realistic approach to trade relations with China.
The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, will today visit the United Kingdom in order to intensify commercial and cultural ties with that country. Given intensifying trade frictions with China, the European steel industry reiterates its position that China is not a market economy – a key consideration in the light of the massive dumping of Chinese steel on European markets.
“China has overcapacity of 340 million tonnes of steel – a third of its total installed steel production capacity. Chinese overcapacity is twice the total production of EU-based steel producers. The Chinese government says it is making efforts to reduce this overcapacity, but progress has been unconvincing thus far. Recent examples have demonstrated that China will not let unviable plants close, even as European installations are extinguished due to unsustainable price pressures,” said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER.
In the light of ongoing discussions in the EU as to whether China should receive Market Economy Status (MES), EUROFER echoes calls that the country does not yet meet the necessary technical economic criteria set out by the EU. The Chinese government does not dispute this finding.
Mr Eggert added, “Were MES to be granted, the EU would no longer be able to effectively defend against massively dumped Chinese steel. This dumping is a real threat to the survival of the European steel industry. The recent closures of plants in the UK have had price pressure from dumped Chinese steel as an underlying cause.”
80% of all ongoing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade cases are related to China, and a large portion of these are to do with Chinese steel.
"EUROFER holds that the EU must take a realistic, clear-headed approach to China, and should not jettison its core economic, social and environmental values. In its firm advocacy for free and fair trade, the European steel industry hopes that China will one day meet the necessary criteria to be granted MES, but believes a lot more work must be done to make this a reality," concluded Mr Eggert.
Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 35 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
About the European steel industry
The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 330,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 170 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 24 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.
Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material, steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and fostering sustainable development in Europe.