The Strategist

EU Countries Are Demanding Tough Defense of Their Metallurgists

02/15/2016 - 12:24

Today, Brussels is hosting a large-scale walkout organized by national trade unions and Eurofer (European steel producers organization) in protest against Chinese steel dumping. Top managers of leading steel companies joined the members of steelmakers union.

creative commons
creative commons
Today in Brussels, at the EU headquarters, the leading European trade unions together with Eurofer are carrying out a mass protest against the EU's inaction in the face of Chinese steel dumping. Participation of top managers of European leading steel companies has already made the protest unprecedented. Head of Tata Steel Europe Dr. Karl Ulrich Köhler and head of the Spanish CELSA Group Francisco Rubiralto are going to to demand a change of the situation along with the workers. Gareth Stace, director of the British steel industry association UK Steel, is also taking part. According to the organizers, the walkout will unite 5 th. people from 15 countries.

"I do not remember a case when a boss joined trade unions and workers to march to the EU headquarters, demanding to business. This underlines the scale of the problem with which we are faced in Europe, despite the fact that Britain was in the middle of this storm, so to speak, "- Mr. Stace told The Daily Mirror, which, incidentally, holds its own campaign called" Save our steel".

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According to Eurofer’s experts, supplies of cheap Chinese steel have increased by 50% last year, South Korean - 30%, Russian - 25%. According to Eurofer, Chinese steel is available in Europe at dumping prices - when sales price is lower than the production cost.

Last week, the EU's attempts to introduce more or less sane anti-dumping tariffs on imported steel met unexpected resistance of Britain, a country that, quite possibly, suffered from the Chinese dumping the most, and where thousands of steelworkers lost their jobs. Nevertheless, it was the British Minister of State for Business, Sajid Javid, who has blocked the decision on abolition of import tariffs restrictions. As a result, says Mr. Stace, Chinese steel in Europe is subject to a tariff of 13% compared to 66% in the US.

February 5, Ministers of seven European countries (Germany, Italy, UK, France, Poland, Belgium and Luxembourg) sent a joint appeal to the European Commission, urging the regulator to strengthen monitoring of imports of Chinese and Russian steel. This was reported by Financial Times, citing the Ministers’ letter. The appeal states that "the EU authorities must not remain passive in the face of rising job cuts and cancellation of production, all of which carries a risk of a potential collapse in the European steel industry." The Ministers are calling upon the European Commission to reform the system of trade protection mechanisms to make it work faster, more transparent and more efficient. In addition, the letter demands an investigation into the pricing policy of Chinese hot rolled products’ imports to the EU.

According to the European steel lobby Eurofer, steel imports into the EU amounted to about 5.3 million tons (exports - about 5 million tons) in 2015. 60% of imports accounts on Russia, China and Ukraine.