The European Council has agreed to impose tougher sanctions on cheap Chinese imports, despite UK Government opposition.
The new measure will give the EU greater powers to increase tariffs on Chinese steel, which is being dumped, sometimes at below cost prices, in the European market, threatening domestic steel producers.
While the British steel industry welcomed the development the UK Government has consistently argued against increased tariffs, even supporting granting Market Economy Status to China which would likely reduce current tariffs on cheap Chinese imports.
Tom, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel, yesterday asked the Business Secretary Greg Clark about the threat Chinese dumping posed the industry. In reply Mr Clark claimed the Government ‘have been active in making sure that we have the right trade defences against practices where countries dump steel unfairly in the UK market’.
Commenting on the news of the European Council’s agreement said:
Today’s news shows regardless of the Government’s talk you can’t trust to Tories to save the UK steel industry.
Despite Greg Clark’s answer to my question yesterday, at the European level our Government has been opposing greater tariffs on the Chinese steel dumping threatening British producers.
It’s not just the steel industry that needs trade defence measures against Chinese dumping – the textile, ceramics and chemical industries also need the government to stand up for them.
Following Brexit the UK will need to develop its own trade defence measures and I don’t trust this Government, who continue bend the knee to China at every opportunity, to do what’s best for British manufacturing jobs.
The Government again seems to putting its relationship with the Chinese ahead of the interests of UK steel workers. We now face the bizarre situation of British workers welcoming an EU measure that their own Government opposed!
The Daily Mirror today reported Theresa May’s spokesman said the Prime Minister was ‘disappointed’ at the imposition on tougher tariffs.