EU threatens more action against cheap Chinese steel, Juncker says
The European Union is ready to take further action if necessary to counter steel dumping by China, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday (April 13), as 10,000 jobs hung in the balance in the sector in Britain.
At the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Juncker pledged to support the industry whose plight some Britons have blamed on EU policies as they campaign for Britain to quit the bloc in a June referendum.
“I want to urge that we take the problems of the European steel industry seriously. It’s not just any old industry, the steel industry has ceased being a heavy industry, the steel industry is the location of future-oriented, high-technology, and steel workers don’t just carry iron but are highly skilled specialists and these specialists deserve our unconditional support in Europe,” Juncker told EU lawmakers.
The EU Chief, a long-time premier of major steel producer Luxembourg, described the sector that employs some 360,000 workers across the European Union as a high-technology industry that needed investment and protection.
The European Commission opened three anti-dumping investigations in February into imports of Chinese steel products – seamless pipes, heavy plates and hot-rolled flat steel – and has imposed duties on two further products, cold-rolled flat steel and rebar.
“Free trade should be fair trade. We are now investigating steel products from China to determine whether they were dumped on the market,” Juncker said.
Britain is battling to save its steel industry after Tata Steel announced it was putting its British steel operations up for sale, saying this was unavoidable because of a surge in cheap Chinese imports, as well as soaring costs and weak demand.
Juncker, whose father was a steelworker, was for 19 years prime minister of Luxembourg, home to ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel maker.