Yesterday (11th February 2016) the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal Related industries wrote to Business Minister Sajid Javid to register their ‘deep disappointment’ with the UK government’s decision to block attempts at an EU level to scrap the ‘Lesser Duty Rule’ (LDR) to allow higher tariffs on steel-dumping nations like China.
The proposal to scrap the LDR was put forward by other EU member states but was blocked by the UK government.
EU tariffs on steel are currently around 9%, significantly lower than a US Department of Commerce proposal for tariffs of up to 236% on some subsidised steel products.
The APPG have asked the government to reconsider their position on scrapping the LDR.
Text of the letter:
Dear Secretary of State,
We are writing on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal Related Industries to register our deep disappointment with your announcement yesterday in front of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee that you will not reconsider the UK’s position on the Lesser Duty Rule (LDR).
On hearing what you said to the committee, we can only conclude that the letter you signed in support of steel industry last week was just a formality and that you are unwilling to combat the flood of cheap steel that is causing the loss of thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs and destroying communities.
As the Business Minister has highlighted today, the duties imposed on certain cases do not reflect an accurate estimate of the harm caused, and do not have the teeth to halt the enormous increase in exports from China, which are driving our steel manufacturers out of business.
We strongly support free trade, however if an anti-dumping complaint is upheld by the EU Commission, then it clearly shows that this trade is not taking place fairly. The elimination of the LDR would create an incentive to withdraw the very root causes of trade distortions by third countries (subsidisation and government intervention in their domestic markets). This would also bring the EU into line with other countries, notably the United States of America.
Anti-dumping measures, as low as 9%, cannot remedy the massive injury caused by Chinese steel import surges.
We urgently call on the Government to reconsider its position on LDR given the reasons outlined above. We look forward to hearing from you.
Tom Blenkinsop MP
Anna Turley MP