EU Steel Action Welcomed by Conservative MEPs

Los Angeles

Dr Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales, has joined colleagues in welcoming news that the European Union could open new anti-dumping investigations into Chinese steel products, although they are critical of the fact that it has taken Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom three months to respond to Conservative MEPs calls for action.

Commenting on the news Dr Swinburne MEP said:

"Conservative MEPs have been leading the calls here in the European Parliament for effective European action to help the steel industry. This news from Commissioner Malmstrom is encouraging, but our steel industry continues to face unprecedented pressure and we therefore need to act quickly. I will continue to press for robust and effective action from the Commission to tackle the issue of cheap imports and ensure support for our steel industry."

Ms Malmstrom has reportedly written to Beijing's Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng complaining that price drops of 50 per cent for certain Chinese steel products far exceed the fall in raw material and energy prices.

She states that the European Commission has received multiple complaints from European steel producers and urges China to urgently reduce overcapacity, adding that new probes may follow.

Conservative MEPs wrote to Ms Malmstrom and EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska last October calling on the Commission to take immediate action to help the steel sector, but only recently received a reply.

European Conservative's International Trade Spokesman Emma McClarkin said: "The crisis in the steel industry is moving at a fast pace but the Commission has been moving too slowly. I am relieved that now it is finally waking up to the issue.

"We need to update our trade defence instruments, which have been stuck in the Council for too long, as well as imposing measures where there is a 'threat of injury'. Sadly for the steel industry, that injury has already been sorely felt."

Conservative leader in the European Parliament Ashley Fox stressed the importance of British steel producers being able to compete on an equal international footing and called on the Commission to act against any proven cases of anti-competitive behaviour and dumping.

"This intervention by Ms Malmstrom, albeit limited, is welcome but we need to see it translated into effective action as quickly as possible," he said.

Read the Conservative MEPs' letter of October 30, 2015, at http://bit.ly/1NHC8tk