Brussels, 21 April 2016 – The European Steel Association (EUROFER) today held the sixth European Steel Day. The theme of this year’s event was “Building a Future as Strong as Steel”, which captured the strategic importance of steel to the EU economy. This event coincides with EUROFER’s 40th anniversary and was an opportunity for the European steel industry to highlight its priority challenges.
Speaking just ahead of the 2016 European Steel Day, EUROFER President Geert Van Poelvoorde said, “Our top priorities are: dealing with global overcapacity – particularly in China; the modernisation of Europe’s Trade Defence Instruments (TDI); No granting of Market Economy Status (MES) to China until the country meets the EU’s market economy criteria, an effective and pro-competitive revision of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and the creation of a circular economy in Europe that accounts for the permanent and 100% recyclable properties of steel”.
Mr Van Poelvoorde’s comments came just days after an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) symposium on excess capacity and structural adjustment in the steel sector that EUROFER attended. This OECD meeting ended inconclusively earlier in the week with a lack of agreement on a global approach to reducing overcapacity.
“Excess steelmaking capacity is one of the greatest challenges of our time”, said Mr Van Poelvoorde. “Global excess capacity is presently in the order of 700 million tonnes; about 400 million of this is in China. The country’s leaders must face the reality that their excess capacity is damaging the global industry’s prospects and is triggering the rollout of tit-for-tat anti-dumping measures across the world.”
“European steel is globally competitive when faced with a fair market. In the presently distorted market, we call on European policy makers to do more to quickly and effectively defend their strategic steel industry”, emphasised Mr Van Poelvoorde. “However, we also remind our Chinese counterparts: accountable as they are for the world’s greatest and fastest widening gap between domestic demand and supply, that it is their responsibility to commit to meaningful net capacity reductions and ensure that state intervention in their steel sector is put to an end.”
“The situation is very serious,” concluded Mr Van Poelvoorde. “All countries’ steel industries are facing real challenges today. What we need is a real commitment on overcapacity from all international governments, who each have an interest in the sustainability and viability of their steel sectors.”
Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 35, (firstname.lastname@example.org)
EUROFER is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.
The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 320,000 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.
A recording of the press conference is available on this event page.
A PDF of this press release can be found here.