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Press Release

European Commission lays out case for defending free & fair trade ahead of EU Council summit

Brussels, 19 October 2016 – The European Steel Association (EUROFER) has greeted the publication of a European Commission Communication laying out the case for a ‘Robust trade policy for the EU in the interest of jobs and growth’. Released just ahead of an EU summit, the Commission says it is now ‘imperative for the EU's Trade Defence Instruments (TDI) to be updated, strengthened and made legally more robust’, a position that EUROFER strongly backs.

“This clear endorsement of a reactive and effective trade policy could not be timelier. The European steel industry strongly supports free trade, but like the Commission, emphasises that free trade has international rules that apply to all players. Third countries that expect to export to the EU must abide by these principles”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER.

The Commission Communication comes just days after the dispatch of a steel industry open letter, signed by nearly 60 steel industry CEOs, to the leaders of every EU member state. This landmark open letter set out the industry’s priorities, chief among which are TDI modernisation and how to handle dumping from non-market economies.

“EU member states’ leaders must break through the impasse on TDI modernisation. However, a minority of member states have stood in the way. A large proportion of the 85,000 jobs that the European steel industry has lost since the crisis can be attributed to inadequate trade defence instruments. At the moment, these are slow to deploy and can have unpredictable results – despite the concerted efforts of the Commission to do what it can within the existing rules”, said Mr Eggert.

“Steel producing members, such as the UK and the Netherlands, have blocked a modernisation proposal first put forward in 2013. Specifically, blocking countries have resisted calls to lift the Lesser Duty Rule, which cuts down anti-dumping duties to levels well below the calculated size of the dumping”, indicated Mr Eggert.

The Communication rightly highlights the welcome efforts by the Commission to advance the EU’s TDIs. It also sets out the principles behind a new ‘non-standard’ methodology for dealing with countries where market economy conditions do not prevail, such as China. EUROFER warns that any revised methodology must reference the EU’s five well-established market economy criteria.

Mr Eggert concluded, “Alongside the Commission, European steelmakers from across the Union urge the Council to at long last make it possible for the EU to adequately defend itself against unfair dumping, so as to safeguard the hundreds of thousands of European jobs at risk from the practice”.

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Notes for Editors

Contact

Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 35, (charles@eurofer.be)

Commission Communication

The new Commission Communication, Towards a robust trade policy for the EU in the interest of jobs and growth, can be found: here

About the European Steel Association (EUROFER)

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.

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 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.

WTO Commitments

A list of 10 commitments that China made upon its accession to the WTO can be found: here

PDF

A PDF of this Press Release is available: here

 

The European Steel Association (EUROFER AISBL)

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Tel.: +32 2 738 79 20
Fax.: +32 2 738 79 55