UK Steel has reacted angrily to what it described as “totally inadequate” duties placed on imported Chinese steel by the EU.
In response to industry concerns about alleged dumping of Chinese rebar in Europe, the EU has set provisional import duties at between 9.2% and 13%.
The European Commission said duties would allow European companies to maintain a 1.65% profit margin, something “that could reasonably be achieved by an industry of this type in the sector under normal conditions of competition”.
But UK Steel director Gareth Stace said that the decision, taken following a long-running investigation into the impact of Chinese steel exports, did not factor in the scale of the imports.
“Basing the provisional duties on a so called ‘reasonable profit level’ of 1.65% is a slap in the face for UK manufacturers of rebar, which has seen China taking more than 45% of the UK market from zero in as little as four years.”
Stace said the decision “shows that the scale of the crisis affecting the European steel sector has not yet fully registered with Brussels bureaucrats.”
He added: “The Commission’s highly thorough investigation of Chinese exports has highlighted dumping margins in excess of a whopping 60%, however given that the European Commission always imposes the minimum duties possible, unlike the US, then what we end up with are duties that are totally inadequate and may not have any material effect.
“If this was the US, we would have seen duties set at 66% and brought in after 45 days from the start of the investigation. Not 9% after almost a year, from a drawn out and procrastinating EU machine.
“Unless these provisional duties are increased, then we will see further job losses in the rebar sector in the future, as China shows no sign of stemming this tidal wave of rebar exports, with ever increasing tonnage reaching our shores.”
The crisis in the UK steel industry has already claimed more than 4,000 jobs, with closures or significant cutbacks having been made at SSI’s Redcar plant and Tata Steel facilities in Scunthrope, Scotland and Wales.
This article first appeared on our sister title Construction News