Ahead of today’s (29th February 2016) Opposition Day Debate on the UK Steel Industry, Chair of the All Part Parliamentary Group for Steel and Labour MP for Middlesbrough south and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, has urged the UK government to change tact and join forces with other European countries and scrap the lesser duty rule.
“Unfortunately there is a significant gap between rhetoric and reality in this Tory Governments efforts to protect the steel industry in the UK. Ministers claims to have complied with 4 of the 5 industry ‘asks’ including “backing EU level on anti-dumping measures”, but their opposition to scrapping the lesser duty rule is preventing any real action Chinese dumping into the European market.
“Across Europe it has been widely recognized that this outdated rule is killing off the steel industry and the European Commission scrapping it. Despite this, not only is the UK Government blocking scrapping it but has even argued that end users of steel need access to cheap Chinese product. This is a real kick in the teeth to steelworkers in the UK who have lost their jobs or are under threat of job losses.
“Whether in or out of Europe, Cameron wants to give China market economy status, meaning we would not be able to challenge any form of dumping. This will have significant consequences for all energy intensives in Teesside and across the UK.
“Time is running out for the steel industry in the UK so I am urging the Government to stop blocking this essential rule change and stand up for UK steel.”